- Title: THAILAND: THREE MEN ARRESTED IN FAKE PASSPORT SCANDAL
- Date: 20th May 2004
- Summary: (W3)BANGKOK, THAILAND (MAY 20, 2004) (REUTERS) 1. WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE WITH SUSPECTS SITTING SURROUNDED BY POLICE 0.04 2. WIDE OF SUSPECTS SOUTH AFRICAN PHILLIP HOFER, BRITON ROBERT POPE AND GERMAN UWE SCHNEIDER SITTING IN CONFERENCE 0.10 3. CLOSE OF POLICE SHOWING FAKE PASSPORTS 0.14 4. SCU IMMIGRATION POLICE CHIEF TALKING TO PRESS 0.23 5. CLOSE OF FAKE PASSPORT AND VISAS LAID OUT ON TABLE 0.25 6. WIDE OF SUSPECTS TALKING WITH POLICE 0.30 7. CLOSE OF POLICE AND OFFICIALS LOOKING THROUGH FAKE PASSPORTS 0.37 8. VARIOUS OF MORE OF FAKE PASSPORTS AND VISAS ON DISPLAY TABLE 0.40 9. WIDE OF SUSPECTS SITTING BEHIND TABLE 0.48 10. SLV ITALIAN EMBASSY OFFICIALS LOOKING ON 0.51 11. CLOSE ON SUSPECTS 0.57 12. WIDE OF PRESS TAKING PHOTOS OF SUSPECTS 1.01 13. SCU (SOUNDBITE) (English) IMMIGRATION POLICE CHIEF LIEUTENANT GENERAL CHANVUT VAJRABUKKA SAYING "Probably they have a problem of illegal immigrants in Europe, especially many of Eastern Europeans. They try to cross to get a job in western Europe. And many eastern Europeans they look like Italians" 1.21 14. SLV PLAIN CLOTHES POLICE GATHERED AROUND DISPLAY TABLE 1.26 15. SCU (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH SUSPECT ROBERT POPE SAYING "I am just a messenger, that is all. I am not a producer, I don't know where they come from." 1.34 16. VARIOUS OF SUSPECTS BEING HANDCUFFED TOGETHER 1.50 17. SMV HOFER AND SCHNEIDER WAITING TO BE TAKEN TO HOLDING CELL 1.53 18. SCU ROBERT POPE SITTING 2.01 19. WIDE OF SUSPECTS IN HANDCUFFS 2.07 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 4th June 2004 13:00
- Location: BANGKOK, THAILAND
- Country: Thailand
- Reuters ID: LVAEEY8GO1RW4VKQNTR7W8C7KI3L
- Story Text: A Briton, German and South African have been
arrested in Thailand with 119 fake Italian passports.
Thai police have seized 119 fake Italian passports
and arrested a Briton, a German, and a South African
charged with forging documents and suspected links to a
transnational syndicated criminal gang, police said on
Thursday (May 20).
Robert Pope, Uwe Schneider and Phillip Hofer were
paraded by Thai immigration officers after being found with
a bag containing the fake passports as well as fake visa
stamps and British passport stamps.
Immigration chief Police Lieutenant General Chanvut
Vajrabukka told a news conference that the passports were
probably destined for Europe.
"Probably they have a problem of illegal immigrants in
Europe, especially many of Eastern Europeans. They try to
cross to get a job in western Europe. And many eastern
Europeans they look like Italians."
Police said they were investigating possible ties with
groups in Spain and Italy that "could threaten our national
security" they said they were trying to find evidence of
links to an international criminal gang.
But the suspects denied links to any groups, saying
they had only acted as messengers.
Briton Robert Pope, who has a Thai girlfriend and
regularly visits the country, said he had no role in
producing the passports or any idea where they were
"I am just a messenger, that is all. I am not a
producer, I don't know where they come from," he told
Police said the suspects are also facing charges of
attempted bribery, saying South African Hofer offered police 500,000
ht ($12,270) to let Schneider and Pope go
free with the seized passports.
The suspects face three to five year prison sentences
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