Finnish Newspaper Comments on "New" Nationalities

The headlines of the leading Finnish newspaper (Helsingin Sanomat) on Monday 26.01.98 were really interesting. On the first page the biggest "news" were a scandal about how people can buy themselves new nationalities. There was a big picture of a pile of passports (Bahamas on top), and there was quite a big reportage about how professional criminals, tax-evaders and mafia now legally can buy themselves nationalities from several countries. They reported how Finnish consultants sell passports of some foreign countries. They prices they quoted were astronimical, but the fun thing was how negatively written the article was. The impression you got from it was that only really bad guys buy these kind of things to escape "lawsuits, military service and taxes". They reported that "even new names can easily be arranged to create a false identity".

One good lesson every PT should remember is to know the country whose passport you travel on and make sure you seem like a person from that country. They told about an arab who had bought himself a fake Polish passport. At customs in Finland the border guards got suspicious about him, stopped him and gave him a Polish newspaper to read from. The poor arab had said that "I'm sorry I can't read it because your newspaper is in Finnish". The guy will probably go to jail for this. They reported that the maximum penalty for travelling under a false identity is 2-4 years in prison. Amazing, when you often get off in just a half year for a far more serious crime like rape.

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