BANGKOK, Aug 25 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is ranked number one in terms of fake passports confiscated at Thailand's Suvarnabhumi International Airport in 2007, the Bangkok Post reported Monday.
Last year, the Thai Immigration Department found 58 fake Malaysian passports out of the 220 fake passports detected.
"More travellers were stopped at Suvarnabhumi airport with forged Malaysian passports than any other fake travel documents last year," the newspaper quoted Pol Maj-Gen Pongdej Chaiprawaj, commander of the International Airport Immigration Division, as saying.
He said the number of passengers at the airport kept increasing and the quality of forged passports kept improving.
"Although we have machinery to check passports, the ability to do this with the naked eye remains top priority. Officers (at immigration counters) only have 45 seconds to check each passport (so as not to slow down arrivals), so they must be well trained," he said.
Last week, two Malaysians aged 29 and 30 were arrested at the Suvarnabhumi Airport for using fake Malaysian passports while earlier this month, another Malaysian, in his 30s, was caught for a similar offence.
It is learnt that there are many cases involving Malaysians using fake passport as most of them are believed to be blacklisted in Malaysia and resorted to fake passports to travel to Europe by entering the country from the southern part.
In 2007, Thai authorities stopped 34 Thais carrying forged passports, followed 23 Koreans, 20 Indians, 19 from Hong Kong, 15 each from Bangladesh and France, 14 each from Britain and South Africa and eight Chinese.
During the same period, they also found 24 cases of fake visas, including 11 Chinese travellers, seven Bangladeshi, four from France and two Indians.
The immigration department, which handles about 100,000 travellers daily at the three-year-old Suvarnabhumi Airport, has a Document Verifying Room where a group of officials tries to identify forged passports, assisted by a 10-million-baht passport-verifying machine donated to Thailand by Australia.