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Thai Border control gets hi-tech boost from Canada-funded initiative

According to a recent report, in order to ensure the safety of vulnerable migrant workers, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) last week gave the Royal Thai Police Cadet Academy an online learning portal to assist training in detecting fraudulent travel documents, people smuggling and transnational crime.

The portal was developed to complement training materials jointly developed by IOM and the academy that cover 16 of the 28 modules in the Bali Process Curriculum on Standardised Induction Training for Frontline Border Officials.

The IOM Thailand chief of mission stated that irregular migration induced by smugglers and traffickers undermines the security of states and puts migrants in vulnerable situations.

It was noted that cadets who go on to become police officers will be well placed to intercept and intervene to ensure the safety and protection of vulnerable migrants.

The portal’s handover on occurred on 21 November 2018 and also marked the completion of the third phase of a Canadian-funded IOM project “Strengthening Border Management and Intelligence Capacity of Thai Government Officials”.

The project has trained 613 officers since August 2016, as well as 57 teachers from the police force, its constituent bodies and other government agencies.

The training covered detection of fraudulent travel documents, cyber-security, information management, inter-agency cooperation and victim identification and assistance.

Fifty-five immigration officials and police officers from Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar were also coached on international policing and cooperation in sessions conducted jointly with the Thai Immigration Bureau.

The project also addressed border management with the introduction of five Verifier Travel Document and Bearer (TD&B) workstations at Thai border checkpoints.

Developed by IOM, the Verifier TD&B is an automated, standalone system designed to help border officers conduct secondary inspections quickly and efficiently.

Eight workstations are now in operation at key border checkpoints across Thailand, including at Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai and Phuket airports, Nong Khai, Sadao in Songkhla and Aranyaprathet in Sa Kaew.

Since the TD&B system was introduced in Thailand in 2014, 215 fraudulent passports and 154 imposters have been identified.

Last year, a report noted that the Thai Immigration Bureau (TIB) on received five new Verifier Travel Document and Bearer (TD&B) workstations from IOM – the UN Migration Agency – to strengthen the country’s border control and detect passport and identity fraud.

The donation is part of the efforts by the agency and the TIB to curb irregular migration and combat transnational organised crime as part of the “Strengthening Border Management and Intelligence Capacity of Thai Government Officials” project, which is funded by the government of Canada.

Developed by IOM, the Verifier TD&B is an automated, stand-alone system designed to help border-control officers to conduct secondary inspections quickly and efficiently, with a suspect traveller’s passport being verifiable within 10 seconds. Since the system was first installed in Thailand in 2014 at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang International Airport and TIB headquarters, 114 cases of fraudulent passports and 41 cases of imposters have been identified.

An expert noted that forgers are developing increasingly sophisticated methods to circumvent enhanced security elements embedded within passports. The Verifier TD&B will enable the government to manage its operations in accordance with international standards, it was noted

The IOM Thailand chief of mission has stated that states need to address the challenge of ensuring the right balance between open, but at the same time secured and controlled borders. The monitoring and identification of passport fraud play a crucial role in the suppression of transnational crime.

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