Stolen Passports Used For Malaysia Flight, Interpol Confirms

Mar 9, 2014
Originally published on March 9, 2014 11:53 am

Interpol says that "at least two passports" used to board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 were listed in its Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database. And matching up with what's been reported earlier, the agency identified them as being Austrian and Italian documents.

The agency says it's also reviewing other passports used to board the flight, to determine whether any of them might have been reported stolen. That's from a statement released Sunday.

Saying that "it is too soon to speculate about any connection between these stolen passports and the missing plane," Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble adds that "it is clearly of great concern that any passenger was able to board an international flight using a stolen passport listed in Interpol's databases."

Interpol adds that border agencies are inconsistent at checking passports against the database, with policies varying wildly from country to country. Few countries use the database systematically, Interpol says.

"Last year passengers were able to board planes more than a billion times without having their passports screened against Interpol's databases," the agency says.

It also notes, "The US searches this database annually more 250 million times; the UK more than 120 million times and the UAE more than 50 million times."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.