Samoan passports examined

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 August, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 August, 1997, 12:00am

Australia and New Zealand are scrutinising Samoan passports submitted with visa applications in the wake of a scandal in the tiny Pacific nation.

They were reportedly being sold in Hong Kong despite a ban on the travel documents being given to anyone who has not lived there.

Immigration officials from Samoa's larger neighbours said visa applications made through Hong Kong consulates by ethnic Chinese would be carefully checked.

A Western Samoan passport carried by a non-Western Samoan national would be closely examined, a New Zealand official said.

Samoa's chief immigration officer and a top aide were charged with corruption after Chinese carrying the passports were arrested on their arrival in the country.

The nation's main opposition party has passed information about the scam to authorities in New Zealand.