Forgers fail smart ID card tests

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 March, 2004, 12:00am

'If' not the only mistake on the first of the fakes seized

Forgers of the new smart ID cards have proven to be not so smart.

Immigration officers have made their first seizures of faked smart cards since the issue of the IDs began nine months ago. The smart ID cards are hailed as virtually forgery proof and the fakes do not come close to challenging that claim.

The seized cards contained spelling mistakes, missing words and the wrong colours. The words 'Date of Issue' was mistakenly printed as 'Date if Issue', while the letter 'M' indicting the holder's gender was missing on one card.

The fakes also did not have the laser printing and optical ink security features, which create different colours and images when the card is viewed from different angles.

The forgers had even used chips from mainland phone cards, which have distinctly different patterns than the smart ID chips. 'The seized cards are so fake that they're properly intended for people with low level of knowledge,' said an Immigration Department spokesman.

The first forgery was seized on March 4 when a mainlander tried to use it to find work at a construction site. A second fake was found on a mainlander on March 13.

The latest seizure was on March 18 when a Hong Kong resident took a fake card to a bank to open an account under a false identity.

The Immigration Department is investigating whether there are syndicates making the cards as two of the seized fakes were similar.