The illegal trade in counterfeit documents that can be acquired in Bangkok‘s Khao San Road area seems to be still thriving. Anyone who needs a fake passport, drivers license, university degree or a fake student identity card can roll up to one of numerous temporary outlets in the backpacker haven, have their photos taken and be on their way to discounted travel fares, fraudulent insurance claims and the tools to open numerous bank accounts.
Any name will do
The authors of the report in The Big Chilli, an ex-pat focused magazine for people like me, living in a place like this, managed to get fake ID documents in the names of Ulrike Marie Meinhof, of the Baader Meinhof Gang who was jailed for terrorist acts in 1972, and one for Vladimir Illich Lenin, who needs no introduction.
The bad news is that even if well-known names are not questioned, then other high-risk but less famous identities could be duplicated. Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) aside, the street front counterfeit markets existence means that anyone can get their hands on fake documents and use them to open a bank account or set up a company.
The good news is that, according to Steve Vickers, a security adviser, the documents are generally not good enough to pass an electronic examination, and this limits their use. That said, the serious counterfeiters do not hang out on the streets of Bangkok selling their wares; their services are still available at a high price to those in the know.
Depending on what country you happen to be in when opening a bank account, set up a company or even get a visa, you may not even need to show identification or proof of address. Opening a bank account in Thailand is pretty straightforward, as I found out last year. And no matter where you are in Thailand, you are never less than 50 metres away from someone who knows someone who knows a man at immigration who can help out with any visa woes.
Source: The Big Chilli