Papers switched at Chek Lap Kok

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 June, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 June, 2000, 12:00am

Mainland illegal immigrants are switching travel documents during stopovers at Chek Lap Kok airport before leaving for North America.

Immigration chiefs have increased manpower at the airport and plain-clothes officers are posing as tourists in the transit lounge. The illegal immigrants join tour groups and mix with other mainlanders.

A source said most fake passport holders detected were from Fujian and Zhejiang.

'They fly into Hong Kong from China with genuine or fake travel documents. While in the transit lounge awaiting a flight to leave the SAR, local gangs arrange for someone to bring forged BNO passports into the transit lounge and hand over to them,' the source said.

'They use the fake BNO passports to board flights to other Asian destinations then fly to the United States and Canada.' This could cost up to $200,000.

The BNO passports they use have usually been reported missing or stolen and have had photos substituted.

A department spokesman said 840 forged travel documents had been detected at Chek Lap Kok in the first five months this year. About 2,430 fake passports were seized last year.