11 charged in passports forgery

Eleven people have been charged by Tonga Police in an ongoing investigation into alleged forgery and illegal issuance of Tongan passports.

A Police spokesperson said since November last year they have arrested and charged 11 people with various offences in relation to passport forgery.

The accused included Tongan and Chinese nationals who have pending trials in Nuku'alofa.

In November last year, four Tongan nationals were charged with forgery, receiving bribery, regarding a complaint over a passport application that allegedly used a forged birth certificate. Some of the accused were employees of the Ministry of Justice.

New charges were made last week against two Chinese men who were in Tonga allegedly on a one-week business trip. They were stopped at the airport after using Tongan passports to leave Tonga.

In this case, the Crown submitted the accused Tongan passports were forged because they allegedly have not been nationalized as Tongans.

The investigation is being handled by a Police Passports Taskforce headed by Deputy Police Commissioner 'Unga Fa'aoa..