Tue, 08 Mar 2005

24 foreigners nabbed with forged passports

Fadli, The Jakarta Post, Batam

Over the past seven months, the Batam Immigration Office has apprehended 24 foreigners entering Indonesia with forged passports. "It has reached an alarming level," said I Gde Widiharta, chief of Batam Immigration Office.

Widiharta said that the 24 foreigners, most of them from Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines, Singapore and Iran, had all been handed over to the Immigration Office in Jakarta to be prosecuted.

The practice was revealed when immigration officials in Batam noticed irregularities in the shape of the passports.

The officials discovered the passport forgeries after noticing discrepancies in printing and the number of pages. Testing with ultraviolet light also revealed them to be fakes.

The foreigners entered Indonesian through several different ferry ports in Batam, said Widiharta.

In Batam, there are at least five international gateways where foreigners are allowed to enter Indonesia, namely Hang Nadim International Airport, Batam Center International Ferry Port, Sekupang International Ferry Port, Nongsa Point Marina International Ferry Port and Marina Ferry Port.

"We will tighten surveillance on foreigners entering Indonesia to ensure that no-one enters using forged passports," said Widiharta.