American Pleads Guilty To Forging Canadian Passport To Live And Work In Thailand

Published on 28th February 2020 by Stickboy BKK

American Pleads Guilty To Forging Canadian Passport To Live And Work In Thailand

An American man pled guilty on Thursday to forging and using a Canadian passport to allow him to live and work in Thailand at a court hearing in Mukdahan.

Robert David Bell, 54, was arrested last September by immigration officers manning the checkpoint at the Friendship 2 Bridge as he attempted to leave the country using a dodgy Canadian passport with many errors including the city of issue Vancouver spelt “Vancover”.

At his trial, Bell initially denied knowing the passport was a fake but admitted to using it.

The court heard that following his arrest it soon came to light that he was not a Canadian citizen and there was no record of him or the passport on file with Canadian authorities. Police did, however, find an expired American passport in his name stating he was from Ohio.

At the time of his arrest, he was en route to the Thai Consulate in Savannakhet to obtain a visa for a recent appointment at a university in Bangkok.

It also came to light that it was not only the Thai authorities who had failed over 5 years to spot the forged passport but immigration officials from Malaysia and Laos too where he had travelled to dozens of times.

Through the two lawyers and an interpreter provided by via legal aid, Bell told the court a bogus Bangkok-based company made and supplied him with the forged passport.

The court was not convinced of his argument stating that he did not have any evidence or witnesses to back up his story.

Bell is facing two charges. The first is using a fake passport to exit and enter the country repeatedly. The second is forging a fake passport with the intention of using it to illegally travel around ASEAN and finding work.

The court gave him two options. One was to continue fighting his case as innocent, which if proven guilty could land him a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or a 200,000 baht fine. Or he could make a deal and admit to his crimes for a lighter sentence.

Following a lengthy discussion with his legal team and girlfriend, he conceded and admitted to forgery.

Bell will be sentenced at Mukdahan Provincial Court on April 8.

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