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Fake Korean and Australian passports for sale

Apparently a company/group of individuals in the UKRAINE is offering to manufacture “high quality fake passports” not only for Korea and Australia but a large number of nations as well. I am reproducing part of the ad, dated April 9, 2010, because I am not sure how long it will remain up. The homepage address that was given is no longer in operation:

BUY AUSTRALIAN FAKE PASSPORT/KOREAN FALSE PASSPORT FOR SALE!

Our team is a unique producer of quality fake documents.
We offer only original high-quality fake passports, driver’s licenses, ID cards, stamps and other products for a number of countries like:
USA, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Italia, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom. This list is not full.

To get the additional information and place the order just visit our website:

HOW EASY IS IT TO GET A FAKE PASSPORT?
The first question that comes to my mind is why would you need a fake passport? I remember several years ago that fake passports from fake but real sounding countries were offered for those who feared being singled out by terrorist because they were Americans and there were some micronations (not real nations per se – especially considering one guy declared his bedroom a micronation – if anyone is interested I could do a post on Micronations later) that issued their own “official passports” but this ad seems to have a definitely illegal feel to it.
One commenter – the only commenter – obviously agrees and wrote:
Never and never use this company PASSPORT4SALE.COM, MYNEWPASS.COM and other sites those people created in order to scam you. They do not produce any passports at all. They steal your money by asking you to send them deposit and cash the money and run away. They all are criminals, so you should not be victim of those assholes who operate this business in Ukraine. NEVER AND EVER USE THEM OR TRY TO BUY SOMETHING ON THE NET BY WIRING MONEY TO FOREIGN COUNTRY.
But the Ukrainians are not the only ones making fake passports. This US company, The ID Shop, describes its passport service as:

We also offer a limited number of high quality novelty passports each month. These are strictly on a first come first served basis due to our limited supplies at times. To get pricing for a fake passport, please contact us.

We can replicate most any passport upon request and proper pricing. Our Fake Passports are of the highest quality and look very near identical to an official one. In addition we can work on a one-on-one basic with you to create a completely custom passport job. Use our fake passports in conjunction with our fake ID’s for a complete “New Identity” Package. Upon request we can create a complete identity solution. This can include a fake novelty id, fake passport and several other different forms of identification such as credit cards, checkbooks, utility bills and fake corporate documents if needed. Let us stress that creating our custom packages are only for individuals that are serious about creating complete turn key identify packages.

One must wonder just how good are these fake passports? We know that fake diplomas of a very high quality are made in Thailand (and apparently in CANADA as well) that have fooled more than a few government agencies but could they create a passport that could fool immigration? Apparently they can and only occasionally get caught. The earlier mentioned American site also has a copy of this AUSTRALIAN news story (Can’t verify the accuracy but…)

The Immigration Department today defended its deportation of an alleged French national despite being warned he was travelling on a fake passport under a false name. The French government said it told Australian authorities that the man had stolen another person’s identity but he was still put on a plane out of the country.French police confirmed the identity theft after meeting the real Jean-Felix Kingue at his Paris apartment.

The impostor, who entered Australia on a false passport, was arrested in Melbourne with an accomplice trying to set up a counterfeiting scam.The Victorian County Court ordered he be deported.His real identity is unknown.The French embassy in Australia became suspicious when it was notified of his arrest and began making checks.Claude Annonier, from the French consulate in Sydney, said that after reporting the matter to French police they realised the passport was false.”We immediately informed Australian authorities, Department of Immigration, the Victorian Police and also Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,” Mr Annonier told ABC radio.

BRITISH
The British have had their own share of fake passports for sale – and no, I am not talking about the recent assassination presumably by Isreali agents using British passports – but by one of their newspapers in 2006. According to Daily Mail June 3, 2006:

With frightening ease, foreign terrorists and criminals can enter this country using fake EU passports made to order in 48 hours at counterfeiting factories in North London.

I discovered the staggering scale of the scandal when I bought three forged passports for £1,200 each from an African middleman named Jonathan. Handing over the money in cash with three pictures of myself taken at a supermarket photo-booth, I told him my height, age and the new name I wanted put on the documents.

Two days later, the three fake passports ” Italian, French and Portuguese ” were delivered to me in a white envelope at a wine bar near King’s Cross railway station. In order to test how easily they could be used to gain entry into Britain, I sent the Italian passport (number 354167F) by post to a friend’s address in northern France where I planned to collect it and then come back into the country.

I was copying the simple trick of thousands of illegal immigrants who wait at the French port of Calais hoping to smuggle themselves to Britain.

They buy a bogus EU passport from London, which is then sent to a box number at one of the port’s post offices for them to pick up a day or two later.

You can read the rest of the very interesting article here. There have, however, been some very large passport busts in Britain. According to the Daily Mail, July 4, 2007

More than 1,800 fake passports with a street value of at least £1million were discovered in a two-bedroom flat in north London.

Five men are in custody after fake passports for at least 12 countries were found stuffed into a wardrobe, cupboard and briefcase.

Among the documents were 200 fake UK passports – often considered by counterfeiters as too difficult to make.

Other passports were Finnish, Portuguese, Korean, Latvian, Slovenian, Albanian, Danish, Greek, Italian, Belgian and French.

UNITED STATES
It is amazing at just how many of these sites there are and how easy it is to get these passports and fake documents. This site gives the dialogs between a couple of interested purchasers and those who purchased these fake passports and IDs in the United States. According to CNN, March 14, 2009:

An investigator used a false identification to obtain a U.S. passport and then used the passport to get an airline boarding pass and go through an airport security checkpoint, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, said its undercover investigator conducted four tests of the passport issuance system and “easily” obtained passports every time.

Individuals with “even minimal counterfeiting capabilities” can obtain genuine U.S. passports, which can be used to travel overseas, open bank accounts and prove U.S. citizenship, the GAO report says.

INDIA
This problem of tampering with passports and visas is also an extremely serious problem in India. According to India Times, April 5, 2010:
On average, the police come across approximately one to two cases a day of people trying to travel abroad with fake or tampered passports, including those with bogus visas stamped in them. More than 650 cases are registered with the Sahar police every year. “On average, nearly two cases are registered a day. The accused are caught with fake passports or genuine passports with switched photos, fake visas or a genuine visa with the person’s name changed. Sometimes a passport is swapped after an immigration check is over,’’ said Patil.
VANUATU
Even the small Pacific island-nation of Vanuatu has/had problems with fake passports – Korean fake passports. According to Radio New Zealand, August 16, 2006:

A Vanuatu official says there are more and more cases of mostly Asians using false documentation in a bid to transit Vanuatu.

This comes as the Pacific Forum Secretariat’s law enforcement advisor, Shaun Evans, said the whole region is affected by travellers using fake passports.

The first political advisor to Vanuatu’s Minister for Internal Affairs and Policing, Joe Carlo, says Vanuatu immigration and border control officials are on alert.

“We had a few cases of Asians arriving using Vanuatu as a transit point, using fake passports. In fact two Asians are in the lock-up in the moment. They were caught in the last two weeks using fake Korean passports to travel out of the country.”

Mr Carlo says Vanuatu is trying to get a more stringent border control system and is supported in its efforts by Australia.

He says officials believe the fake papers are produced overseas, but he says they are investigating the matter.

 
NORTH KOREA
North Korea, infamous for its counterfeiting of cigarettes and Super 100 dollar bills, doesn’t seem to have the ability to manufacture passports even their own legitmate ones (nice pictures from NK Daily of new NK passports) and has to buy their fake passports from abroad. Apparently Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of Kim Jong-il, wasn’t a very wise shopper for the fake passports for him and his companion. If you remember right, he was caught by Japanese immigration in May 2001 trying to enter Japan on a fake Dominican passport. Why Dominica? Are there that many Koreans living there? He supposedly paid $2000 for each passport. I like how this BBC article states (nice pictures) that he was the apparent heir to the throne North Korea at the time. Of course, its only conjecture on my part, but it seems that daddy KJI wasn’t impressed and felt he was too stupid to tyranically rule wisely instruct the North Korean people and passed him over.
 
SOUTH KOREA
South Korea is obviously and rightly worried about passports because it will begin photographing and fingerprinting foreigners entering into the country in August. But Korea should remember, as clearly stated in the title, that their passports are also being forged and copied. This article from Shanghai Daily, June 10, 2008, gives an example of a Chinese man using a fake Korean passport. And, of course, we can not forget the Korean adjumas trying to sneak back into Japan after being thrown out. Not only were they using fake passports but they were also disfiguring their fingers to get pass the fingerprint checks (Japan Probe, May 28, 2008). 
A very serious Korean passport incident occurred in 2007 when Sam Byung Kim, 33, of Gardena, and Ha Lim Jeon, 28, of Los Angeles, California, were arrested for using fake passports and IDs for a number of illegal activities. According to this Justice Department release:

Beginning in 2002, Lee allegedly opened approximately 30 fraudulent merchant processing accounts for non-existent businesses. Merchant processing accounts are set up so that businesses can process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses can only get a merchant processing account once they have established a business bank account and verification has been made to determine that the business is legitimate. According to court documents, Kim, the owner of Universal Payment Tech, a company that processes merchant processing accounts, set-up at least five of Lee’s fraudulent merchant processing accounts.

According to the court documents, Lee established false identities by using counterfeit passports to obtain social security numbers and fraudulent Alaskan driver’s licenses. These fraudulent identities were used to establish the merchant processing accounts.

Lee’s co-conspirators allegedly opened personal checking accounts using counterfeit Korean passports and United States Visas, kited checks to fraudulently inflate the balances in the personal checking accounts and then used the merchant processing accounts to withdraw the fraudulent funds from the personal accounts. The funds were then wired out of the country or used to pay bills, including mortgages.

In all fairness – the Korean government has taken measures to ensure that its passports are harder to illegally produce but as our own Mr. Eglin noted:

Perhaps the real problem is counterfeit Korean passports can not always be detected by the government and fingerprinting is their answer to detecting counterfeit passports so as to verify the passport and holder match. Naturally, this is useless for foreigners who hold foreign passports (not Korean) but might be useful for an eventual global passport/fingerprint database that could be used by member countries.

Out of time – so I guess I will have to end here….

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