Interpol holds the granddaddy of stolen passport and stolen documents database but the world scarcely checks it to verify travelers. The, at least, two stolen passports used to board Malaysia Flt. MH370 were in the Interpol system. Over 40 million “travel documents, mostly passports” are in the Interpol database which originated in 2002. The U.S. checks the highest number of times, placed at 250 million annually, more than double the next two countries. Over 1 billion travelers boarded flights without their passports being checked in 2013, with four of 10 international fliers not checked. The stolen passports were Italian and Austrian.
Yet, “only a handful of countries worldwide are taking care to make sure that persons possessing stolen passports are not boarding international flights,” Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said Sunday.
Interpol said that no country checked the two passports used to board the Boeing 777 bound from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, even though they were reported stolen in Thailand — an Austrian one in 2012 and an Italian one in 2013—and that it can’t say how many other times they might have been used.
The U.S. uses Interpol’s database more than any other nation to screen people entering the country. Its 250 million annual checks are followed by the United Kingdom’s 120 million and the United Arab Emirates’ 50 million.
Interpol said it makes its database available to all 190 member countries but cannot force them to integrate it into their own systems. Last year, passengers boarded planes more than a billion times without having their passports screened against its database.
Each year, based on its terrorist watchlist and Interpol data, the U.S. government issues thousands of “no-board recommendations” to airlines to keep suspected high-risk passengers from traveling to the United States. In fiscal year 2011 alone, it issued more than 3,600 such recommendations, according to 2012 U.S. House testimony by Kevin McAleenan of the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection. Source: USA Today
The article linked above says the U.S. system is better than the Interpol database, and had the flight been coming to the U.S., our watch list, checked against the passenger manifest, may have prevented stolen passport users from boarding.
In Thailand, where immigration police last year caught a Thai man with 5,000 fake passports, officials say international cooperation helps battle the plague — but passport forgers are now using advanced technology.
“It must take great skills and expertise by our officers to detect the fake passports and visa stamps because the system cannot detect them the whole time,” said Maj. Gen. Warawuth Thaweechaikarn, commander of the Immigration Police’s investigative division. Thai authorities also say some new techniques include finding a lookalike to match the passport, or altering the image on the passport to look like the holder. Source: Yahoo News
Other Missing MH370 posts:
If you would like to receive Maggie’s Notebook daily posts direct to your inbox, no ads, no spam, EVER, enter your email address in the box below.