Holders of British passports can expect to have their documents replaced with ones of a new design from next year in an effort to beat the rising number of forgeries. They include an estimated 3.5 million Hong Kong residents holding the British National (Overseas) passports. The passports are expected to be replaced gradually, perhaps as validity of the 10-year passports expires and residents seek replacements from the British Consulate. A consulate spokesman said the feasibility of introducing new passports next year, including BNO documents, was being studied. An increasing number of burgundy-covered British passports are being discovered with the owner's photograph on the inside back page cut out and replaced. The new design would feature the holder's photograph on a single sheet of paper on an inside page which would make alterations easier to detect, said immigration authorities in London. Altered BNO documents, similar to full British passports, are popular with people-smuggling rackets on the mainland and in Hong Kong. Western countries have expressed fears of a rise in misuse of BNO passports as Hong Kong residents have also been entitled to SAR passports since the handover.