Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Passport Forgery Legal in UK?


The arrest of the Algerian-born Britain with 452 forged European passports at Bangkok’s Don Muang airport is only the latest in incidences of document forging in Thailand.

But here’s the rub: The suspect, 35 year old Mahieddine Daikh, may not be charged with any crime. To date none of the government’s whose forged passports he possessed has filed charges. According to a senior Thai police official, quoted in the Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald, “We will not prosecute him unless one of the embassies [of the countries whose passports were forged] files a formal complaint. If they do not, we will revoke his visa and return him [to Britain].”

And currently under British law, Daikh has not committed a crime. A British Foreign Office spokeswoman said he “could not be prosecuted in Britain for this offence.”

So, really? Passport forgery, or possession of a forged passport is legal in the UK? And incidentally, who believes that a fellow with 452 passports is traveling under his real name?

(From The Counterterror blog, “More on the Thai Passport Scandal.” Google News has articles. Photo from AP.)
[Update: I had incorrectly inferred that some of the passports were UK passports, but I can’t find that in any of the articles I’m reading now Thanks, ‘Watching Them, Watching Us.’]

5 comments on "Passport Forgery Legal in UK?"

  • DM says:

    Well at least I know where to fulfill my passport needs in the future.

  • Why is it such a surprise ?
    None of the passports are reported to be United Kingdom Passports.
    The suspect and the alleged fakes are physically in Thailand, not in the UK.
    The controversial Identity Cards Bill which would set up a compulsory centralised biometric national identity register, would make it a crime to even possess a Designated Document such as a foreign Passport, without good reason i.e. reverses the burden of proof., you have to prove your innocence, rather than it being assumed, and the prosecution having to prove their case against you.
    There will be criminal penalties not just for actual forgery, but for the possession of any equipment which might be used to aid such forgeries of Designated Documents, including, of course, dual use equipment such as computers, scanners and printers.
    However, this will do almost nothing to prevent terrorist, serious criminals or illegal immigrants from entering the UK using forged or falsely applied for identity documents:
    The majority of illegal Passports seized in the UK are not for United Kingdom Passports e.g. Operation Maxim
    “over 93% of the false or fraudulently obtained Identity Documents seized by Operation Maxim are foreign documents, over which the UK Government has no control.”
    It is also worth asking if a man found in possession of so many forged European Union passports, who claims British nationality, realy is entitled to this or not.

  • Adam says:

    None of the passports are reported to be United Kingdom Passports.
    Thanks for clarifying that. I’d thought that they were.

  • ziz says:


  • ziz says: now Aug 10th and no more news stories about this guy.
    Has he been released ?

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