Monday, March 17, 2014

One's a fake made in Thailand, one's real: Can you tell which?

Nirmal Ghosh, Indochina Bureau Chief In Bangkok, made a fake driving licence in Bangkok and found that it looked just like the real deal except one tiny difference. PHOTO: ST Nirmal Ghosh
This article is contributed by the Stomp Team. 
From over 100 samples of identity cards, driving licences to student passes and many others from around the world, Thai vendors on Khao San Road make a very convincing version of the real deal.

Nirmal Ghosh, Indochina Bureau Chief, picked a Singapore driving licence and a Qatar Airways crew card from a huge album of choices for just 800 baht (SGD $31) each.
In The Straits Times article by Ghosh, it took merely an hour and a half to make those fake IDs. All he needed was a passport photo.

Even his attire was digitally altered -- a suit and tie was added to make him look professional in the Qatar Airways crew card.

The streets are lined with restaurants, guest houses, travel agents, and shops selling cheap cotton clothes and souvenirs. Normally, the handful of vendors making fake identity cards would be quite visible even though on the day he went, Ghosh had to hunt for one.
The Thai Police stand at either end of the 200-metre street to keep an eye on things.

According to him, a law enforcement source had told him that the fake ID peddlers don't ever make Thai IDs, which is why the police leave them alone. He also shared that it is also probable that they pay the police.

The source said:

"If any enforcement officer just takes a quick look, or Googles these documents to compare them, they are unlikely to spot any problem."

When Ghosh received the cards, he too found that they were startlingly realistic.
The only difference from the real Singapore licence was the absence of the holograms. The fake ID vendors did not seem to be able to make cards with holograms.

The card on the left in the main picture is the fake made by the vendor, while the card on the right is the actual driving licence.
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