Police bust seamen's papers scam

Police raided a printing house on Friday and seized 500 forged seamen's registration books and equipment used to print the fake documents.

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Investigators of the Immigration Bureau and Marine Department spent two weeks gathering information before deciding to raid Saengsri Printing in Suan Luang district.

They first obtained  a search warrant from the Phra Khanong court.

They found 400  blank seamen's registration books for fishing vessels, and another 100 ready for use at the shop.

Printing equipment and security embossed paper with the Garuda emblem were among evidence found on the premises.

Acting Immigration Bureau chief Sakda Chuenpakdee said the seized materials could be used to print  another 1,000 seamen's ID books.

A seaman's book is a document recording the work history of the holder. It is valid for five years. The book for trawlers has a green cover, and the book for freighters is blue.

Shop owner Somsak Saengsri said he was hired by a man he knew only as Kaew to print 500 books over  two years by receiving 150 baht for each copy.

Pol Lt Gen Sakda suspected the real masterminds could be foreigners living in Thailand.

Mr Somsak was charged with producing fake official documents and fake official emblems. He faces a maximum prison term of five years and/or a fine of 10,000 baht if found guilty.

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