418 Stolen, Lost and Invalid Passports Detected by APEC System
Singapore, 27 September 2006
The first release of the number of stolen or lost passports detected by the APEC Regional Movement Alerts System has been compiled by participating APEC Member Economies.
The system that was initially trialed between Australia and the United States in 2005 and expanded to include New Zealand in 2006, has detected 418 invalid passports as travelers attempted to pass through immigration.
The Chair of the APEC Business Mobility Group, Mr. Vincent McMahon, said the system, that is now set to expand to include more APEC Member Economies, is proving its worth.
"This groundbreaking new APEC system is an important tool against those who seek to defeat border systems and strengthens the fight against criminals and terrorists," said Mr. McMahon.
"It operates in real-time across borders".
"The new figures on passports detected by the APEC system highlights its success in protecting the safety and security of people in the Asia-Pacific.
"With the system now fully operational we are consulting with other APEC Member Economies who are likely join the program in the coming months.
"The RMAS adds to other APEC measures in place such as the APEC Business Travel Card that enables business people to travel to participating economies without separately applying for a visa. The entry of cardholders is then facilitated through the provision of express immigration lanes at airports and borders."
The following figures indicate the total number of Australian, United States and New Zealand lost, stolen and otherwise invalid passports that have been detected since commencing the RMAS pilot up until 12 August 2006 (The figures begin in 2005 for Australia and the United States, and March 2006 for New Zealand)
The framework governing the new system was agreed by APEC members at the recent Meeting of APEC Senior Officials in Da Nang, Viet Nam, in September.
The system ensures that privacy is protected as no private personal data is released by participating economies. The only information that is transmitted is a request for verification to the passport issuing economy to establish authenticity status of the passport, and the subsequent positive or negative response from the issuing economy.
Once an alert has been transmitted authorities in the local border control area are able to investigate the matter further and ascertain whether a crime is being committed.
With the adoption of the framework the remaining 18 APEC Member Economies are now able to join the system.