Post Incident Report: Passport Forger Arrested In Bangkok
Date of Report: Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Incident Date/Time: 14 JAN 2018 (GMT +8hrs)
On 14 JAN 18, a Pakistani national was arrested for allegedly producing fake passports for transnational criminals, possibly including those joining Islamic State. According to an anonymous source for The Bangkok Post; Immigration, Police and Army personnel arrested Muhammad Iqbal, 51, at the Metro Condominium in Phasi Charoen district, Bangkok. A search found four Indian pasports, three Singaporean passports and equipment used for making counterfeit documents and passports.â¯ Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has stated to the media that Iqbal, "produced fake passports and fake visas in an attempt to bring Islamic State to enter Thailand. No, the Islamic State has not entered Thailand (Intelligence Fusion, 2017)."
COMMENT. According to reporting used to log this incident, the arrest was made as a result of a probe beginning in February 2016 where an Iranian national Hamid Reza Jafary, known as "Doctor" was arrested in Chachoengsao province – shown in imagery above.â¯The arrest revealed that Jafary and his associates made fake passports and supplied them to a network of people from Middle Eastern countries to be used for travel to Europe and Australia. The same anonymous source for the Bangkok Post has said Iqbal is in the same network as Jafary along with many other Pakistani criminals who have been linked with counterfeiting documents to supply to Islamic State.
The government has always maintained Islamic State has not been active in any form inside the country. Since May 2017, no incidents relating to Islamic State being in Thailand have been recorded on Intelligence Fusion not even in the South of Thailand – shown below. Intelligence Fusions reports analysing the insurgency have not indicated Islamic State being present there either; despite this part of the country featuring many incidents – such as bombings and small arms attacks – similar to those seen in areas around the world where Islamic State is active. While there has been a group in this region with a somewhat similar aim - Pattani Islamic Mujahedeen Movement or GMIP – its policy of not taking credit for attacks like other insurgent groups in this area is contrary to Islamic State tactics. (Fevrier, 2017, Pratten, 2017a, Pratten, 2017b, Intelligence Fusion, 2017).
However, there have been many arrests relating to transnational crime in Thailand. Transnational criminal networks have a heavy presence in the country. These networks revolve around human trafficking, drug trafficking, scam operations, counterfeiting and illegal migration (Intelligence Fusion, 2017). COMMENT ENDS.
Based on what is known about this incident and prior analysis relating to terrorism and insurgency in Thailand, it is PROBABLE this arrest has been against a network providing forged passports for those wishing to travel under false names in order to avoid detection by authorities – mainly criminals fleeing authorities and would also include those linked to Islamic State. The Pakistani citizen is PROBABLY a member of a group that provides its services to Islamic State members but does not appear to be directly under Islamic State itself.
At this time, it does not appear that Islamic State has entered Thailand for the purpose of conducting operations within the country, but there is POTENTIAL for Islamic State to have members in the country. However, anyone linked to Islamic State who is in Thailand is POSIBLY there for the purpose of obtaining fake documents to allow travel to other countries.
FEVRIER, V. 2017. Southern Thailand: Instability in Patani, A Threat to the Greater Region. Intelligence Fusion [Online], 2017. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/05/16/Southern-Thailand-Instability-in-Patani-a-Threat-to-the-Greater-Region [Accessed 17 January 2018].
INTELLIGENCE FUSION 2017. Intelligence Fusion Platform. In: MCCABE, M. & HARRINGTON, D. (eds.) Intelligence Fusion. Durham: Ambix.
PRATTEN, M. 2017a. Thailand Fortnightly Snapshot: Armed Conflict in Thailand. Intelligence Fusion
[Online]. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/07/24/Thailand-Fortnightly-Snapshot-Armed-Conflict-in-Thailand [Accessed 17 January 2018].
PRATTEN, M. 2017b. Thailand Fortnightly Snapshot: Update on the Insurgency. Intelligence Fusion [Online]. Available: https://www.intelligencefusion.co.uk/single-post/2017/10/04/Thailand-Fortnightly-Snapshot-Update-on-the-Insurgency [Accessed 17 January 2018].
ï¿¼NB – To avoid potential misunderstandings surrounding plagiarism, references mentioning myself or the Intelligence Fusion platform are built upon the collection and logging of incidents based on the combination of numerous open sources such as mainstream media, social media and open source mapping tools (The Bangkok Post, The Nation, Thai PBS, Facebook, Google Maps, etc). Details of reports used are available on each incident logged on the Intelligence Fusion platform.