Aviation threat: 40,000 people travelled on stolen passports

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Singapore, Jun 12: In an alarming revelation that could send shivers down the spine of aviation security managers, Interpol has said about 40,000 people criss-crossed the globe with lost or stolen travel documents in the recent past.

"Terrorists and dangerous criminals continue to move from one country to another on stolen, falsified or lost documents," Interpol chief Ronald K Noble told PTI in an interview here.

Maintaining that the airline industry faced the "maximum threat" and "continues to be the prime target", he said, "Over past several months, we have scrutinised 490 million passports and identified about 40,000 such documents which were lost or stolen. Travelling with such documents is the biggest threat (to aviation)."

These 40,000 travel documents belonged to 26 countries which have since been informed by the Interpol, Noble said.

Asking the airline industry to "care more about stolen passports", he said criminals and terrorists who travel extensively "will continue to use stolen and lost passports to conceal their true identity until we plug this glaring security gap".

"Each government should focus on the non-nationals who want to come to their country. Visas should be issued after checking from the police (in the visitor's country). More information about people and their background should be collected (before giving visas)," he said.

Noble, first elected in 2000 as Secretary General of the International Criminal Police Organisation or Interpol, was here to attend the summit of the International Air Transport Association. He was re-elected to the post last year to serve the third consecutive five-year term.

PTI

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