More than 100 fake travel documents found in Kowloon hotel after arrest of three suspects Immigration officers have smashed an international forgery syndicate that intended to move its operating base to Hong Kong, officials said yesterday. The syndicate was caught while attempting to smuggle illegal Philippine labourers into Japan. Its alleged ringleader and a client - both Filipino men - were arrested along with a local travel agent. Officers discovered more than 100 bogus documents - including US, Singaporean and Malaysian visas, and six bogus Hong Kong identity cards - in a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel room after the arrests on Monday. The syndicate allegedly charged clients US$2,000 for obtaining travel visas from the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong, assistant principal immigration officer Chan Leung-yuk said yesterday. The gang allegedly provided fake documents and supporting letters to back the applications for visas. Mr Chan said they also provided air tickets, hotel accommodation in Hong Kong and even escort services. Officers said bogus visas and immigration stamps of other countries were used to create the impression that the passport owner was well-travelled. All the bogus documents were of poor quality and were believed to have been produced in the Philippines before being delivered to Hong Kong, said Mr Chan. He said investigations had revealed that the syndicate had been operating in Southeast Asia for about 10 years, mostly forging documents for Filipinos applying for Japanese visas in an attempt to work in the country illegally. The syndicate has reportedly been active in Singapore over the past three years. 'In order to avoid being [detected and] smashed by foreign authorities, they intended to move their base to Hong Kong,' Mr Chan said. 'We believe this was the first time that they operated such illegal activities in Hong Kong. We successfully cracked down on this syndicate.' The alleged ringleader, 54, was visiting Hong Kong when he was arrested, Mr Chan said. He and his client, 33, arrived from the Philippines last week. In its attempt to relocate to Hong Kong, the syndicate allegedly forged documents, including Hong Kong identity cards and extension-of-stay labels, and created false travel records enabling members to pose as Hong Kong residents. The arrests were made as the alleged ringleader and the local travel agent were attempting to obtain a visa for the client from the Japanese consulate in Central. The consulate staff alerted immigration officers after the pair presented a forged Hong Kong identity card while applying for the visa. Immigration officers subsequently raided the hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui and arrested the Filipino client, 31, who was staying in the room in which the forged documents were found. The two Philippine suspects remained in custody last night and no charges had been laid. The Hong Kong man was released on bail pending further investigation.