Kiwi Passports prized on black market

PT       2003-03-01 
Stolen and forged New Zealand passports are fetching about $60,000 on an international black market for criminals eager to assume new identities.
About 12,000 passports are lost or stolen each year, alarming senior police who are increasingly concerned about whose hands the documents are ending up in.
The Department of Internal Affairs says it is aware of cases where passports have been used illegally overseas, but says it does not consider the number disappearing is particularly high.
But a senior police source in Wellington told the Weekend Herald passports were a sought-after document in the criminal underworld.