Swedish passports found traded on black market
Swedish passports are becoming "hard currency" on the black market, and over the last two years 177,000 valid Swedish passports in total were reported missing, local media reported on Saturday.
Each Swedish passport can be prized up to 80,000 Swedish kronor (about 12,200 U.S. dollars) on the black market. It is believed that the number of the actual missing Swedish passports is higher than what has been reported, said the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter (Dn).
Statistics from the National Police Board of Sweden show that 861 people have reported at least three passports missing over the last two years while two persons reported that they had lost 12 passports during the period.
It is reported that Swedish passports are common to be used in illegal activities such as human trafficking.
"We are convinced that the documents are also used in other organized crimes such as fraud and terrorism offence," Kerstin Hogback, police inspector with the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation, was quoted as saying by Dn.
Despite that, there is nothing much that can be done by the Swedish police so far, said Dn.
Swedish passports are considered as one of the passports that are most difficult to copy in the world after being modernized in 2012, but Sweden has poor control over the lost and stolen passports, which leads to that a Swedish passport could be used by people who have a similar look with the original owner, said Dn.
"We have very liberal rules in Sweden. Some other countries have tightened their rules and set higher requirements," Lars Bohle, head of travel documents with the National Police Board of Sweden, was quoted as saying by Dn.
Furthermore, to get a legal Swedish passport only costs 350 kronor (about 54 dollars), even for those who have lost their passports repeatedly.
A solution to the problem can be that Sweden introduce fingerprint in the passports ahead of the European Union.
Besides, it should also be investigated if it ought to be more difficult for people who have lost many passports to get a new one, said Dn.
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