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Thai police have smashed a major international passport forgery ring and arrested five suspects, including an Iranian top forger widely known under the pseudonym of “doctor” who is wanted by police in several countries.
The successful crackdown of this international passport forgery ring was unveiled to the media today (Tuesday) by Pol Gen Srivara Rangseepromnakul, the deputy national police chief for security and Pol Lt-Col Natthathorn Prohsunthorn, commissioner of the Immigration Bureau.
Police have seized 173 fake passports of several countries and many equipments used in making the fake passports, including printing machines, special papers, sewing machines, plastic sheets, moulds and official seals.
Pol Lt-Gen Natthathorn said that immigration and security officials had seized many fake passports and documents and arrested several brokers and human traffickers during 2013-2015. Information gleaned from the suspects pointed to a mysterious forger known as “Doctor” whose fake passports were rated as “AAA” grade or “Mirror” grade.
Most of the fake passports were sold to human trafficking gangs in the Middle East which smuggled their customers to third countries, especially Europe, he said.
Moreover, Pol Lt-Gen Natthathorn disclosed that several customers ordered the fake passports from abroad through the Internet by sending their photos and personal information by e-mails to the gang and they could choose any passports of their choices.
But most customers chose European passports because they are more credible and can be used to get into most of the countries in the world, he said, adding that the “Doctor” himself entered Thailand with fake passports which could not be detected with plain eyes.
After money were wired to the gang’s accounts, the fake passports would be delivered by mails to them and most of the gang’s customers were Iranians, Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis.
The immigration commissioner described “Doctor” as a recluse who rarely showed up in public but was only known as an Iranian aged between 40-50 and plump.
He said detectives got a break on Monday when they got a tipoff that “Doctor” might be hiding at a house in Sapkamon housing estate in Chachoengsao province. A search warrant was sought with the provincial court and a raid was carried out.
The raiding team found a man holding a Brazilian passport under the name of Eliseu Leite Moraes who later admitted that he was the “Doctor” identified as Hamid Reza Jafary.
Five other people arrested in the raid are Pakistanis.