Second Passports

For Sale in Thailand: Girls, Guns,…and Fake Passports

If you've got the money, and know where to look, just about anything you want—legal or illegal—is available in Bangkok.

In recent years, Thai police have cracked down against trade in drugs, prostitution, and weapons.  But one of the most profitable industries—the manufacture of fake passports—remained relatively unmolested, until now.

On April 26, authorities in Thailand arrested a Bangladeshi man living in Bangkok, along with more than 1,000 finished and unfinished Malaysian, Singapore, Japanese, and U.S. passports—all of them fake.  This amounts to the largest confiscation of fake passports in at least five years.

Mohammed Karim, the defendant, allegedly sold the passports to middlemen who in turn sold them to gangs engaged in prostitution, terrorism, and smuggling.  The price was right: as low as $95 per passport.

Thailand has a long history of passport fraud.  In 2005, authorities shut down much smaller fake passport ring and confiscated over 100 counterfeit documents.  And now this.  It makes you wonder why the U.S. Government printing Office chose Thailand, of all places, as its chosen location to assemble its supposedly state-of-the-art, ultra-secure electronic passports.

Fortunately, none of the faked U.S. passports were of the new electronic variety.  But given the fact that the company that developed key aspects of the new passports has accused the Chinese government of stealing its patented technology, it may just be a matter of time.

In the meantime, if you look in the right place, you may be offered the opportunity to purchase a fake passport.  Should you receive such an offer, don't take it.  If you're caught with a fraudulent passport, you could face not only loss of that document, but fines and imprisonment.

Fortunately, you have several options to obtain a legitimate second passport.  If you don't qualify on the basis of extended residence, ancestry, or marriage for a second passport, you can purchase a legitimate passport in exchange for an investment.  The Commonwealth of Dominica and the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis are the only two countries that provide a legal mechanism for you to apply for economic citizenship, and, upon qualifying, make an investment in return for a passport.  (Click here to read more about these programs).


Copyright © 2008 by Mark Nestmann

(An earlier version of this post was published by The Sovereign Society.)

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