Police cripple international passport forgery syndicate, 3 arrested

Police cripple international passport forgery syndicate, 3 arrested

SHAH ALAM - Police have crippled a syndicate specialising in falsifying travel documents following a raid by its Commercial Crime Investigation Department, said Selangor police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan SDCP Mohd Shukri.

"Our investigations are still in the early stages, but we suspect that the documents may be brought here for processing before they are returned to their owners.

"Questioning has also revealed that the syndicate charges about USD200 to USD250 (S$250-S$310) for each passport," he said.

Acting on a tip-off from the public, police raided the premises in Pandan Indah and found 95 passports from various countries, mostly from Africa.

Passports from European, Central American and Asian countries including Belgium, Czech Republic, Portugal, Guatemala, Mexico and Philippines were also found.

Police will be verifying the authenticity of the passports with the proper embassies.

Police also recovered 131 counterfeit visa rubber stamps, numerous passport photos, an embossing press, visa and passport barcodes and electronic equipment like scanners and laptop computers.

Two men from Ghana and a woman from the Philippines aged between 31 and 40 years were arrested during the raid.

One of the men did not have a passport while the other man's passport had expired.

They will be remanded until Nov 18 and will be investigated under Section 473 of the Penal Code for possessing a counterfeit seal with intent to commit forgery.

Police believe the syndicate has been forging travel documents in a shop house unit in Ampang for the past two years.

It is also believed that Malaysia was staged as a processing centre, where documents such as passports are sent to be falsified.

SDCP Mohd Shukri added that the leader of the syndicate would also be investigated for possible connections to other crimes after he admitted to buying car spare parts to sell in his country.

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