S'pore passport worth up to $50,000

S'pore passport worth up to $50,000

SEARCH FOR MISSING FLIGHT MH370

The Singapore passport commands a premium on the black market. The price tag: $30,000 to $50,000.

The black market for stolen passports has come under the spotlight after two lost passports were used to get on board the missing MH370 flight.

Mr P. Kalastree, 67, a former president of the Council of International Investigators, said: "Stolen Singapore passports can be worth $30,000 to $50,000 in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand."

The director of Mainguard International, a private investigation firm here, has dealt with identity thefts. He said: "Singapore passports are considered extremely valuable because it allows you to travel to many countries visa-free."

LOW CRIME RATE

He added: "Also, authorities are less likely to bat an eyelid as Singapore is known to be a safe country with a low crime rate." Mr Davy Chan, a retired cop and private investigator, said: "Very often, passports are stolen when the passport holders are on holiday - especially in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand."

Crime syndicates are often the ones after these passports.

Mr Kalastree, who has done investigative work all over the world, said: "Passports are often stolen and then sold to these crime syndicates. They would usually need these passports for crimes - especially for human trafficking."

Meanwhile, Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble said: "It is clearly of great concern that any passenger was able to board an international flight using a stolen passport listed in Interpol's databases."

He also added that passengers were able to board planes more than a billion times last year without having their passports screened against Interpol's databases. Its databases have more than 40 million entries and more than 800 million searches per year.

djenn@sph.com.sg


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