Immigration Bureau talks up biometrics successes

Immigration Bureau talks up biometrics successes

The Immigration Bureau (IB) has arrested two foreigners who are accused of dealing drugs and forging a passport thanks to biometrics technology, it said on Monday.

The new system, which enables investigators to identify false data, has recently played a key role in the agency's criminal crackdowns.

Data from the biometrics system helped lead police to the hideout of a drugs suspect, Immigration Bureau chief Sompong Chingduang said yesterday.

The British national, named by officers only as Jeremy, had evaded a warrant for his arrest issued by the Udon Thani Provincial Court about four years ago.

Initial reports of his whereabouts pointed to a hotel in the easternmost province of Trat, but records of his movements led to a house in Khon Kaen's Nam Phong district in the Northeast, according to investigators.

A raid on his house last Wednesday found 0.21 grammes of crystal methamphetamine, also known as "ice". The man admitted to taking the drug, police said.

In the other operation, immigration police nabbed a Canadian man, identified only as Robert, in late September for allegedly using a fake passport.

"Our biometrics system flagged up several discrepancies in the passport which suggested it was forged or stolen," Pol Lt Gen Sompong said, adding that the screening technology is linked to information stored in the Interpol database.

According to investigators, a Canadian woman had earlier lodged a complaint with police over the stolen passport which was later used by the suspect.

A thorough check of the passport unveiled many irregularities, Pol Lt Gen Sompong said.

The passport numbers on the second and third pages were not the same and even the city of Vancouver was misspelt as "Vancover", he said.

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