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28 March 2014

INTERPOL rejects claim attributed to Malaysia that checking INTERPOL's databases may have slowed immigration checks

LYON, France – Malaysia’s decision not to consult INTERPOL's Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database before allowing travellers to enter the country or board planes cannot be defended by falsely blaming technology or INTERPOL. If there is any responsibility or blame for this failure, it rests solely with Malaysia's Immigration Department.

INTERPOL’s SLTD database takes just seconds to reveal whether a passport is listed, with recent tests providing results in 0.2 seconds.

The fact is that the US consults this database more than 230 million times per year; the UK more than 140 million times; the UAE more than 100 million times and Singapore more than 29 million times. Not one of these countries, or indeed any INTERPOL member country, has ever stated that the response time is too slow.

The truth is that in 2014 prior to the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, Malaysia’s Immigration Department did not conduct a single check of passengers’ passports against INTERPOL’s databases.

Consequently, two individuals possessing stolen Austrian and Italian passports were able to board MH 370. Had Malaysia consulted INTERPOL's SLTD database, the fact that both passengers were using stolen passports would have been discovered almost instantaneously.

Malaysia’s Immigration Department owes it to all passengers boarding flights originating in, or passing through, Malaysia to make sure that passports registered as stolen or lost in INTERPOL’s databases cannot be used to board any flight.

In this regard, despite this unjustified attack on INTERPOL, we remain ready, willing and able to help Malaysia better safeguard its citizens and visitors from those seeking to use stolen or fraudulently altered passports to board planes.

INTERPOL has no idea why Malaysia’s Home Minister chooses to attack INTERPOL instead of learning from this tragedy.

After years of witnessing countries fail to consult INTERPOL’s SLTD database prior to allowing travellers to cross borders and board planes, INTERPOL created I-Checkit which will allow airlines and cruise lines to ensure that no passenger can use a stolen or lost passport registered in INTERPOL’s database to board one of their planes or ships.