Skip to comments.Missing plane highlights Phuket's stolen passport trade
Posted on 03/08/2014 7:45:46 PM PST by texas booster
Investigations into the stolen passports of two passengers listed on missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 have swung to the Thai resort island of Phuket, where there is a thriving stolen passport racket.
Police in Malaysia have also viewed CCTV footage of the passengers on the flight, specifically looking for images of two men listed as Italian Luigi Maraldi and Austrian Christian Kozel.
Mr Maraldi, 37, was surprised to see his name on the passenger manifest because he was in fact holidaying in Thailand.
He rang his father, Walter in Cesena, Italy, according to Italian press reports.
Ciao, dad, the younger Maraldi said. Have you heard the news about the missing plane? Dont worry, it wasnt me who was listed as a passenger on board. I dont know why my name is on the list, or what happened but Im ok. Im in Thailand.
On an earlier trip to Phuket in August last year Mr Maraldi had his passport stolen from a car rental agency. According to media reports quoting Austrian authorities Mr Kozel had his passport stolen in the same part of Phuket 18 months earlier.
Both Mr Maraldi are Mr Kozel are reportedly men with average builds and both wear eye glasses.
The Italian honorary consul in Phuket Francesco Pensato confirmed Mr Maraldi is in Phuket and Italian authorities are checking whether the man on the plane may have been a different man with the same name and date of birth. Malaysia Airlines code-share partner China Southern Airlines had sold seven tickets for flight 370, including those in the names of Maraldi and Kozel.
Malaysian authorities are cautiously saying talk about the possibility of a terrorist attack bringing down the plane is pre-mature.
We are looking at all possibilities its too early to reach any conclusions, said Malaysias prime minister Najib Razak.
But the curious thefts of the passports will be a focus of a team of FBI investigators who are flying from the United States to assist Malaysian and other international investigators.
Malaysian authorities have not commented on the CCTV video of the passengers who boarded the early morning Saturday flight at Kuala Lumpur's international airport for the almost six hour flight to Beijing.
CCTV footage of their luggage has also been scrutinized.
We cannot reveal any more for security reasons, said Department of Civil Aviation official Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.
Hundreds of passports are lost or stolen on Phuket each year, raising fears they could fall into the hands of criminal or terrorist networks.
Honorary consuls representing countries there often deal with tourists who report their passports missing.
Former Australian honorary consult Larry Cunningham, who retired from his Phuket posting last September, said during his time as consul passport thefts occurred regularly.
Some passports were certainly lost, falling out of pockets or being genuinely misplaced. But there were also substantial incidents of passports being stolen, he said.
Six Syrian men have been held at Phuket airport for months after travelling on fake Greek passports.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/missing-plane-highlights-phukets-stolen-passport-trade-20140309-hvgrt.html#ixzz2vQw9a6nP
So fake passport do not equate with stolen passports but there are multiple criminals and gangs that love multiple identities.
Interesting take from Parth.
Too bad we can’t make a statement of “Phuket” to Bammy and make it stick.
:Too bad we cant make a statement of Phuket to Bammy and make it stick.”
Yes, I would love to tell Bamster to PHUKET.
Actually I did visit Phuket in 1999. It is not so bad.
It is the only time and place where I rode an elephant.
Still, there is no need to check the borders...we have never been safer:)
The fact they mentioned the f.b.i. flying in makes me oooh so confident everything will be handled well.
Fake (in addition to stolen) passports are no longer rare or unusual.
Evidently it is 1970, where no Asian airports have any databases of stolen passports to flag on go thru -or no Interpol warning list -
Well duhhhhhhh n double duhhh
“The fact they mentioned the f.b.i. flying in makes me oooh so confident everything will be handled well”
You have a problem with James Kallstrom heading the investigation?.
Wish I could go back to 1970...a better time.
I rode an elephant in the USA in a shopping center parking lot eons ago...two of us, one on each side.
Looks like we aren't the only government to spend billions to not really try to catch anybody at the border.
Isn't he the 'go to' guy for airliner crashes involving accidental shootdowns by the military ?
All I saw was fbi, no name mentioned, and at this point there are not many people on our side iam comfortable with. If we get a good guy they take them out.
I find it amusing that two of the biggest sex destinations in the world are named Phuket and Bangkok.
I hadn’t thought about the second location, but you are correct.
He is an expert in covering up airliner disasters. (See TWA Flight 800 where the FBI ignored some 200 eyewitnesses in determining the cause of that mid-air explosion.)
You can buy anything you want in Bangkok, Phuket, or Pattaya, anything. It’s not without just cause that the Thai protesters are out to cleanup corruption. The Shinawatra government includes a fellow named Chewit who was/is the king of prostitution and trafficking in Bangkok’s Pat Pong, Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza.
In a country with a long history of corruption, the Pua Thai (current edition of Red Shirt) is the most blatant. The educated, middle class and many monks are fed up. We have friends in both camps. Yingluck Shinawatra continues her brother Thaksin’s pandering to the genuine working poor and farmers with outlandish rice price control schemes and other bribe for votes schemes. Thaksin seemingly learned his politics from Huey Long “every man a king”.
The thing is that in 20 years wen I’m dead and gone, someone will be able to post the same rant I am posting. Just change the names.
Taksin pben ahea asat , kah mun ......
“Looks like we aren’t the only government to spend billions to not really try to catch anybody at the border.”
But we are the only government spending billions to make sure, when confronted by a hostile illegal, that boarder agents run away and keep their sidearm holstered at all times.