About 7,000 Singapore passports have been reported lost or stolen each year over the last five years, said Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli in Parliament on Monday.
Get the full story from The Straits Times.
Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Parliamentary Sitting:
All persons entering or leaving Singapore are subject to stringent checks at the checkpoints, which include travel document examination and identity verification. There are several layers of checks to detect stolen or fraudulent passports.
ICA actively taps into its network of global partners to exchange information on lost and stolen travel documents to prevent undesirable persons from using such documents.
Since 2008, ICA has been using the Interpol's database containing over 40 million travel documents reported lost or stolen by 167 countries, in the passport document examination process.
Singapore is one of several Interpol member states that cross-check travelers' passports against this database, accessing it about 29 million times a year, to determine if a passport presented had been reported lost or stolen.
Over the past 5 years, about 7,000 Singapore passports are reported lost or stolen each year.
Once a report is received, ICA will immediately cancel any reported lost or stolen passport, update its database and convey the relevant information to Interpol.
Over the past 5 years, across all our checkpoints, an average of about 350 travelers per year have been detected to be in possession of forged or tampered travel documents, or had presented a travel document that did not belong to him or her.
Under section 47 of the Passports Act, anyone found guilty of offences relating to false foreign travel documents shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both.
To deter forgery or tampering with Singapore passports, Singapore is one of many countries which have issued new passports with stronger security and protection features, such as biometrics.
These passports comply with the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) recommendations and requirements, including security standards to ensure the integrity of biometric passports.
It is an offence under the Passports Act not to report any loss of passport.
A Singapore passport is an important document and highly valued by local and foreign criminals.
During the passport application and collection process, and in public outreach and community engagement through talks and exhibitions, ICA constantly reminds Singaporeans of the importance of safe-keeping their passports and the need to report any loss of their passports immediately.
ICA maintains our security with tight controls at our borders over persons who present stolen or lost passports.
At the same time, the security features of our Singapore biometric passport, and the education efforts and strict enforcement of laws regarding lost/stolen passports, help ensure that Singaporeans who travel face fewer queries and delays due to inquiries regarding their passports.