( dpa )- Malaysian Immigration officers have arrested ten Myanmar nationals believed to be part of a syndicate forging Thai and Myanmar passports and other personal identification documents, reports said Wednesday.
The suspects were caught in a raid Monday evening in the capital Kuala Lumpur, with forged refugee status cards similar to the ones issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Immigration officers also seized more than 150 fake Thai and Myanmar passports, 19 forged foreign worker identification cards and cash amounting to 20,000 ringgit (5,882 dollars) including 3,500 dollars, the News Straits Times daily reported.
It is believed that the masterminds, a Myanmar couple, are currently based in Thailand.
Immigration enforcement chief Ishak Mohamed said the operation was the department's first raid of this year.
"We believe the syndicate was only involved in the distribution of fake passports but not the production as we did not find any equipment," Ishak said.
He added that the fake passports, believed to be worth around 1,000 dollars to 2,000 dollars each, will be surrendered to the Thai and Myanmar embassies.
Those caught forging travel documents face jail and whipping under the country's immigration laws