Australia steps up fight against passport fraud – Chris Evans, Immigration Minister
October 30, 2008
The Australian Government is stepping up its efforts to identify fake passports by increasing its cooperation with the Peoples Republic of China.The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans said today that the Australian Government will this year sponsor two Chinese government officials to undertake tertiary study in forensic document examination.The Chinese officials, Ms Xu Juan and Ms Wei Tuni, are senior document examiners with the Ministry of Public Security in China and will study Forensic Document Examination at the Canberra Institute of Technology as well as receiving training at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Effective document examination is a cornerstone of good border security and Australia is a leader in the field, Senator Evans said.Knowing how to identify a fraudulent or counterfeit passport is crucial to maintaining the integrity of international borders.
Airport inspectors often only have several minutes to inspect a suspect travellers documents before deciding to clear or to hold them up while more time is spent examining their passport. The incidence of identity fraud is a worldwide phenomenon so knowledge of the specialist equipment and examination techniques is crucial for our border security.
Senator Evans said 128 people arrived at Australian airports with forged or fraudulent documents in 2007-08. The major claimed nationalities of arrivals using fake passports in the last four years were Iraq (26 per cent), China (21 per cent) and Sri Lanka (15 per cent).
A further 143 people attempting to travel to Australia using false passports were detected by Australian Airline Liaison Officers at international airports overseas in 2007-08, including Bangkok (30 per cent), Hong Kong (23 per cent) and Kuala Lumpur (19 per cent).
Intercepting fraudulent passports at the point of embarkation is a key part of Australias approach to border management, Senator Evans said.
Senator Evans said his departments forensic experts had provided document examination training to officers from many countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Thailand, East Timor, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Passport fraud is a global issue so assisting our regional neighbours with forensic document examination training is essential in managing our borders, Senator Evans said.