TAK -- Three Myanmar workers have been arrested with fake passports at a border checkpoint in Mae Sot district, after an immigration official noticed them looking nervous and had their documents examined using a passport authentication device.
The suspects included a man identified as Miew Oo, 37, and two 17-year-old girls.
It was the first time migrant workers from Myanmar had been caught using forged travel documents, Tak immigration chief Pol Col Pongnakhon Nakhonsantiparp said.
The page containing the photo and personal information of the passport holders in each of the seized passports was forged, but other parts of the documents were authentic.
Pol Col Pongnakhon said he believed the fake passports were produced in Thailand and sold to Myanmar labourers.
Miew Oo allegedly confessed that he bought the passports for 16,000 baht from a man known only as Kotoon in Myawaddy, the Myanmar border town opposite Mae Sot. He said he waited for eight days to get the documents.
Myanmar police jointly questioned the suspects with Thai authorities and reported the incident to officials in Nay Pyi Daw. Police would investigate further to find those behind the production of the fake passports, with the help of their Myanmar counterparts, Pol Col Pongnakhon said.
This article first appeared in the Bangkok Post on September 24, 2013.