Government Issues New Scanned Passports

National police officials will stop validating old passports and begin issuing new ones in an effort to reduce human trafficking.

Old passports feature photographs glued onto a laminated passport page, but traffickers commonly removed the photos and simply replaced them with photos of the illegal immigrant.

The National Police will begin scanning the photos directly onto the pages, National Police deputy general Sau Phan said.

Extensions of old passports were forbidden starting May 23. Instead, the old passports will be collected and replaced with new ones. It will likely mean some added expense and inconvenience for passport holders.

A two-year extension of an old passport required $15 and took only about one day to process. A new passport costs $115 and takes about one month. Pass­ports are valid for three years, with two two-year extensions available.

Old passports can be used until they expire, Sau Phan said.

Earlier this year, the Interior Ministry reported that 638 immigrants either illegally entered Cambodia or overstayed their visas during 2001. More than 1,000 immigrants entered in 2000.

Thousands of people, mainly from other Asian countries, are be­lieved to illegally pass through Cambodia yearly. The mini­stry re­ported 43 cases of fake passports, 13 forged Cam­bo­dian passports and nine fake visa cases in 2001.


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