How ICA officers spot fake passports: It takes an eye for detail

ICA document examiners share how officers are trained to detect forged travel papers

Between 2016 and 2018, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority detected an average of 85 counterfeit and tampered passports each year. The Straits Times had an exclusive look at how ICA officers were trained to spot forged passports.
Assistant Superintendent Candice Sin, from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority's Identity Authentication and Document Analysis branch, examines suspicious travel documents detected at the checkpoints, monitors trends in forged documents and for
Assistant Superintendent Candice Sin, from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority's Identity Authentication and Document Analysis branch, examines suspicious travel documents detected at the checkpoints, monitors trends in forged documents and forgery methods, and runs document examination courses for ICA officers. ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF

On the fifth level of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Building is a restricted-access room.

Inside this "Black Room", also known as the "Forgery Lair", there are six real case exhibits which cannot be shown to the public.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2019, with the headline 'It takes an eye for detail to spot a fake passport'. Subscribe