Tuesday, May 25, 2010

At Least 10 Fake Passports On Last Week's Deadly Mangalore Plane Crash

Fake passports have been found among some of the 158 dead victims of the May 22 plane crash in Mangalore, India as this terrorism, or simply the tragic exploitation of poor migrant workers? The black box was found on Tuesday (India time), but the cause is yet to be determined. May 26, 2010, 02.50am IST - The Times of India - It now transpires that at least 10 passengers on-board the ill-fated flight may have been travelling on forged documents, which has complicated their identification and insurance claim. The Times goes on to report that the tragedy "has brought into focus a thriving fake passport racket, known locally as 'Kasargod Embassy' in Kerala's northern district," and "Sources said discrepancies were noticed in the passport details of nine deceased and one survivor, indicating that there might have been something amiss. Some Malayalee travellers had Tamil Nadu addresses on their passports.... Kasargod Embassy, a term used for skilled forgers who manipulate passports by replacing the photo, first came to light in 1980s and has been thriving due to migrant workers' poverty and ignorance." It's not the first time that the Kasargod Embassy has caught the attention of India's authorities. Keral Report blog reported that on July 6, 2008 "the Air Customs Intelligence, in a major operation, seized a number of forged documents from a Kasargod native. In the raid conducted the officials had seized 31 copies of Indian Passport, 15 copies of International driving License, 12 blank VISA and 10 blank Passport pages from Nizar Panalam, the Kasargod native. He was trying to transport it to Sharjah." The investigation lost steam, however, "under the Malappuram Crime Detachment wing. The Air Intelligence wing that clearly indicated the hands of ‘Kasargod Embassy’ was verbally paid no heed hither to." RELATED: Forged passports make identification messier ‎Daily Pioneer GAO: Fake passports easy to get CNN.com Kerala News : Drive on against fake passport rackets The Hindu Uganda: Businessman Gets Three Convictions Over Forgery‎ AllAfrica.com Ukrainian man with forged passport removed from UK‎ BBC News