Changi Airport Interpol Passport Database Screening

Malaysian authorities were criticised for letting through MH370 passengers using stolen passports.

Trying to distract from the Woodlands Checkpoint car driving through an anti-car barrier last week, ICA and its parent Ministry found the opportunity to show that they are not that all incompetent despite that recent circus. ICA proudly thumped their fist on their table and declared that passports at immigration checkpoints in Singapore are screened against the Interpol database to see if they are lost or stolen. And this done in a few seconds. Give criticism when it is due, and credit when it is due.

Missing MH370: Singapore among the few countries using Interpol database
Friday, March 14, 2014 – 06:34
Karamjit Kaur
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – Visitor passports presented to immigration officers at Singapore checkpoints are screened against Interpol’s database of lost or stolen travel documents, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Tuesday.

And if a passport is one of more than 40 million on Interpol’s list, the officer is automatically alerted and the traveller pulled aside for further checks.

This procedure has been in place since May 2008, an ICA spokesman told The Straits Times.

He did not elaborate on how the system works, but security experts said that this verification typically takes just a few seconds.

But despite the fact that checks are quick, Singapore remains one of only a few countries that use Interpol’s database to ensure border security, experts noted.

Checkpoint security has come under scrutiny since it was revealed that two passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared on Saturday, had boarded the plane with stolen passports.

ICA uses biometric technology for identity verification when Singapore citizens and other known travellers opt for automated clearance, which is swifter.

The traveller’s thumbprint must tally with ICA’s data before the gates open for him to pass through. In this case, there is no need for verification against Interpol’s database.

For effective border security, immigration authorities must rely on various levels of checks, said Mr John Harrison, senior analyst at security provider CyberPoint International.

Interpol has long urged member countries to make greater use of its database to stop people crossing borders with false papers but it notes few countries do so.

This is probably because there is no requirement to do so, suggested Mr Harrison.

Countries may also be unwilling to invest in computer systems and software that they would probably need to link up to Interpol’s database, experts added.

Terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna from Singapore’s S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies said it should be mandatory for governments to report lost and stolen travel documents, as well as for immigration agencies to screen passenger passports against the Interpol database.

Still, there is no one foolproof system, noted one security expert.

“There are passports that are stolen or lost and never reported and that’s why the authorities ultimately rely on several layers of checks.

This includes ensuring that ground officers are properly trained and vigilant to look out for suspicious cases,” he said.


One response

  1. Isn’t it tragic and a complete derelict of duty for the Malaysian Aviation authorities to ignore the Interpol Data base that allowed two stolen passports being used by two Iranian Imposters on that Disappeared Flight MH 370 of Boeing 777-200 a state of the craft safe secure and a good plane design to fly as attested to by current flying pilots !What is terrible and sad is Flight Instructions after the 9/11 Twin Tower Terrorism were ignored namely that no passengers are allowed into the Cock-Pit area.The First Officer Co-Pilot has been inviting passengers in his previous flights substantiated by two white South African Chicks who took photo pictures of that episode to Thailand or somewhere ! what were the chicks doing in the Cock Pits, not cock fightings probably frolics ! There is no question that first world class commercial Aviation is not coming by in accidents but by observing world class standards do safety and flying,including good professional training of Flight Personnel ! Malaysia has lost big by booting out Singapore from Merger and by doing so has bolted itself into a tight corner without world class standards and competition in Passenger Aviation ! SIA is profitable ,MIA isn’t ,competence, professionalism and strict adherence to discipline are surely the de riguer Rules of Engagement and Profitablity !

    Gerald Heng Sr.
    Metrowest Boston, MA
    & Washingtone DC USA.

    March 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm

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