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Pakistani with false passport held

PETALING JAYA: He thought he could give Immigration officers the slip by posing as a Spanish citizen but a new facial recognition camera immediately detected the ruse.

Instead of his face, the image that appeared on the computer screen was that of a 38-year-old Spanish woman.

Immigration officers detained the 28-year-old Pakistani who arrived from Lahore on a low-cost carrier early last Friday.

His case was the first success recorded under the new Facial Recognition and Advance Document Reader system linked to the Immigration Department’s database.

KLIA Immigration director Datuk Mohd Zulfikar Ahmad said the man’s actual Pakistani passport was found among his belongings.

“He was arrested under the Passport Act 1966 for possession of someone else’s passport.

“Investigations are underway to find out how he obtained the Spanish passport and why he entered the country with it,” Mohd Zulfikar told mStar.

He said the new facial recognition camera system was an additional safety measure to the department’s biometrics system.

“It matches the features of an individual’s picture and data on travel documents with 80% accuracy,” he said.

Mohd Zulfikar said the image scanning system would help better identify people suspected of travelling with fake passports.

The installation of the cameras began in early February and so far, all 70 counters at KLIA2 have been equipped with them.

The cameras are now being installed in phases at 112 counters at KLIA’s main terminal.

It is learned that RM7mil has been invested in the system which would eventually be linked to databases of other law enforcement agencies, including Interpol.

This new security system is a pilot programme and would soon be extended to five other international airports – Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi, Penang and Subang.

Between January 2015 and February this year, 130 cases of suspects using false passports were detected at KLIA and KLIA2.

Mohd Zulfikar said Malaysian Immigration officers were also training with their counterparts in Australia and Britain on how to examine and detect fake travel documents.

“There is also sharing of information to prevent other crimes, including people smuggling and human trafficking,” he said.

In 2014, two Iranians travelling with stolen passports boarded the still missing MH370 at KLIA, stoking fears then of a possible terrorist link to the disappearance of the airliner.

Pouria Nour Mohammad Merhdad, 19, and Delavar Seyed Mohammad Erza, 29, reportedly flew to Malaysia from Doha using Iranian passports and then switched to the stolen Austrian and Italian passports to board the plane.-thestar

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