He was caught red-handed with 26 passports and 37 passport biodata pages in his underwear.
A Pakistani flight attendant may have just discovered the most ‘sophisticated’ way to run a counterfeit operation.
Shaukat Ali Cheema, 59, has been sentenced to five years in prison for smuggling forged passports in a special pair of underwear.
The senior steward with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was arrested at Birmingham Airport on March 22, 2015.
He was caught red-handed with 26 passports and 37 passport biodata pages in his underwear, which has been adapted to transport the illegal documents.
A further search by the border staff revealed he also managed to sneak 13 driving licences underneath his clothes.
Some were sewn into his pants, while others were hidden away in his pockets.
The amount of counterfeit documents that Cheema strapped himself with suggests he assumed security x-ray checks did not apply to him as airline staff.
With allegedly 40 years of experience with PIA, it was simply astonishing if he thought he could get away with carrying all that extra ‘luggage’.
According to Dawn Cartwright of the National Crime Agency’s border policing command, the fake documents he tried to smuggle would be used in European countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal.
She said: “The passports and driving licences that Cheema attempted to smuggle in his pants were intended for people across Europe and beyond.”
“Fake documents are a serious concern for law enforcement. Those driving licences could have ended up in the hands of people who weren’t qualified, or safe, to drive.”
She added: “And more generally, fake and fraudulently obtained documents help criminals to avoid law enforcement detection and carry on in their criminality.”
Cheema was charged with seven counts of possessing false identity documents with improper intention.
He pleaded guilty to all charges and will serve five years behind bars.