Details of 196,771 ‘lost’ passports recorded in Interpol database

May 05, 2019

The Himalayan Times, May 04, 2019

Almost all notices of ‘passport lost’ published in newspapers are fake

Details of as many as 196,771 Nepali passports have been recorded in the Stolen and Lost Travel Document database of Interpol’s General Secretariat in France.

Nepal Police said National Central Bureau, a division of the concerned national police agency, which serves as a contact point for the Interpol in 194 member countries, had been maintaining and updating the SLTD database on a regular basis. NCB coordinates international investigative cooperation among the Interpol member countries throughout the world and law enforcement agencies. Inspector general of police acts as the NCB head. The details of all passports recorded at the Department of Passports as stolen or lost are entered into the database, said Spokesperson for Nepal Police Senior Superintendent of Police Uttam Raj Subedi. The database provides information to Interpol member countries about potential movement of criminals using stolen or lost passports to obfuscate their identity. Nepal Police, in association with the Department of Immigration, DoP, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tribhuvan International Airport, has stepped up its efforts to collect information about persons suspected of using stolen or lost passports and hiding in foreign countries after committing crimes in Nepal.

The database also helps keep track of human traffickers, smugglers, terrorists and those on Interpol watch-list.  Mobile Interpol Network Database, popularly called MIND device, has also been brought into operation at Immigration Office, TIA, to nab criminals misusing stolen or lost passports. MIND device helps us identify such criminals. According to Nepal Police, the campaign was initiated acting on information that transnational criminal networks were using stolen or lost passports of citizens belonging to South Asian and Southeast Asian countries to serve their purposes.

As per this strategy, TIA immigration and police will verify the real identity of persons arriving at and departing from TIA. Officials have been authorised to detain any suspect for further investigation. The NCB uses Interpol’s secure global police communication system called I-24/7 to share information, coordinate police activities and access Interpol databases. Sources said almost all notices of ‘passport lost’ published in newspapers are fake. Racketeers sell these passports and pay genuine passport holders to acquire duplicate copies.