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Investigation into missing Malaysian plane throws spotlight on passport theft in Thailand

PHUKET, Thailand - When a German tourist refused to surrender his passport as collateral at a car rental stand along a popular beach in the Thai resort city of Phuket, the woman behind the counter pulled out a bag full of passport books to prove he could trust her. But the tourist, Falko Tillwich, was insistent. "I said absolutely not ... no way," he recalled, and later handed over his driver's license instead.

Investigation into missing Malaysian plane throws spotlight on passport theft in Thailand

PHUKET, Thailand - When a German tourist refused to surrender his passport as collateral at a car rental stand along a popular beach in the Thai resort city of Phuket, the woman behind the counter pulled out a bag full of passport books to prove he could trust her. But the tourist, Falko Tillwich, was insistent. "I said absolutely not ... no way," he recalled, and later handed over his driver's license instead.

Malaysia jet imposters 'more likely migrants than terrorists'

The two mystery passengers who triggered an international terrorism probe into a missing Malaysian jet now appear to be young Iranian migrants seeking a new life overseas, officials said Tuesday. The case of the pair, who travelled with stolen passports, has focused attention on the murky world of people smuggling, particularly through Southeast Asia, which has long been renowned as a hub of illegal migration and human trafficking.

Malaysia jet imposters 'more likely migrants than terrorists'

The two mystery passengers who triggered an international terrorism probe into a missing Malaysian jet now appear to be young Iranian migrants seeking a new life overseas, officials said Tuesday. The case of the pair, who travelled with stolen passports, has focused attention on the murky world of people smuggling, particularly through Southeast Asia, which has long been renowned as a hub of illegal migration and human trafficking.

Mother of Italian listed on Malaysia plane says passport stolen

ROME (Reuters) - The mother of an Italian falsely listed as a passenger on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight said her son's passport had been lost, presumed stolen, in Phuket in 2013. "He lost his passport in Thailand, and he reported it to the authorities... Maybe the one who stole it came to a bad end, we don't know, they have to investigate," Renata Lucchi, the mother of 37-year-old Luigi Maraldi, told Reuters.

Austrian not on Malaysia plane, passport stolen: Foreign Ministry

VIENNA (Reuters) - An Austrian reported to have been aboard the Malaysia Airlines plane missing off the Vietnamese coast is safe at home and his passport was stolen, a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Vienna said on Saturday. "Our embassy got the information that there was an Austrian on board. That was the passenger list from Malaysia Airlines. Our system came back with a note that this is a stolen passport," he said.

Nigeria seizes passport of ousted central bank boss

Nigerian intelligence agents seized the passport of ousted central bank boss Lamido Sanusi when he landed at the international airport in Lagos, Nasir el Rufai, a close Sanusi ally told AFP Friday. Rufai, a former cabinet minister, said he was at the airport to meet Sanusi when his flight from Niger's capital landed at 2:30 pm (1330 GMT Thursday) and the Directorate of State Services seized his passport, adding "I spoke with (Sanusi) this morning and there is no indication that the passport has been returned." ola-bs/jmm

Russell Brand cancels S.Africa tour over passport woes

British comic Russell Brand cancelled his six-date South African tour on Saturday, after he was blocked from flying to the country because his passport did not have enough blank pages. Brand's tour publicist said in a statement that he was "refused permission to fly to South Africa because his passport didn't contain the mandatory number of empty pages." "Consequently he has now been forced to cancel his tour," Debra de Souza said.

Man with false passport blows himself up on Ukrainian border

An unidentified man blew himself up on the Ukrainian border with Russia early Friday, seriously wounding several guards who spotted he was carrying a false passport, Ukraine's border service said. Border guards stopped a minibus with Moldovan numberplates as it crossed into Ukraine from Russia through the Bachevsk border, an advisor to the head of Ukrainian border guards, Sergiy Astakhov, told AFP. The guards found a fifth passenger hidden inside the minibus, who then showed a Russian passport "which did not belong to him," Astakhov said.

Russia says US put it in 'tough spot' over Snowden

Russia on Friday accused the United States of putting it in a "tough spot", claiming Washington never disclosed that it had revoked the travel passport of fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. The former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor spent Friday holed up in a Moscow airport for a sixth day after arriving by a regular Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong where he had disclosed US surveillance secrets to the press.
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