RCMP busts fake-passport ring in Canada

In one of the largest coordinated busts in recent Canadian history, more than 400 police officers moved through Ontario and Quebec to arrest suspects in a counterfeit passport ring.

Twenty-nine people were arrested in the inter-provincial raids as a joint police force of officers from the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec and Montreal police targeted 39 locations in Laval, Longueuil, Blainville, Toronto and Montreal.

The Globe and Mail reports “Montreal has been a hotbed for trade in fake Canadian passports” during the past decade.

The bust comes on the heels of the Canadian government’s recent decision not to beef up security on Canadian passports.

The Toronto Sun reported last week:

“A federal privacy watchdog has rejected Passport Canada’s plan to embed fingerprints and iris scans in electronic passports.

In a review of the project, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner told the passport office not to include new biometric information on a radio frequency chip encoded in e-passports.

‘The more information you collect, the more information you put at risk,’ said assistant privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier.”

Though Passport Canada is expected to start introducing electronic biometric passports – without fingerprints and iris scans – in 2011, security features on current Canadian passports are lagging behind the technological advances around in passport security worldwide.

The Canadian passport uses microprinting, holographic images, UV-Visible imaging, and watermarks to avoid fraud, but compared to New Zealand’s new passport, for example, that uses an embedded microchip containing the holder’s biometric information and digitized photograph as well as incorporates passport paper with a different design on each page, the Canadian document is much easier to reproduce.

Over 60 countries use biometric passports worldwide including the United States, Australia, Switzerland and Russia.

SOURCES: “29 Arrested in Counterfeit Crackdown”
The Globe and Mail: RCMP Busts Alleged Counterfeiting Ring
Wikipedia: “Canadian Passport”
The Toronto Sun: E-Passports won’t Include Fingerprints” “Security Stepped Up in New E-Passport”


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