18 Jun 2007

PNG police say more charges likely in passport racket

3:10 pm on 18 June 2007

Police in Papua New Guinea say more charges are likely to be laid against two individuals involved in a passport racket.

This follows customs officials stopping a Malaysian, Ching Loon Chan, and an Indonesian, Paidi Arendi, trying to smuggle 20 passports across the PNG Indonesia border at the weekend.

So far, the two have been charged with attempting to bribe a customs officer.

The passports allegedly belong to Singaporeans, Chinese and Indonesian nationals believed to be working in Madang and Oro provinces.

A police spokesman, Dominic Kakas, says it is rare to catch such a large number of passports at one time, and further investigation is needed.

"It could be people already employed and working here and these people maybe they're taking the passports in to have the necessary documentation so maybe these guys were trying to shortcut the process."

Superintendent Kakas says immigration law requires the holder of a passport or work permit that's expired to leave the country and return after it is renewed.