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Thailand arrests Iranian man accused of passport forgery crimes, seize 1,053 stolen passports

  • Department of Special Investigation officers display stolen passports during a press conference at the Department of Special Investigation Headquarters in Bangkok,Thailand Wednesday, March. 18, 2015. The Thai Department of Special Investigation on Wednesday announced they had arrested an Iranian man who allegedly was a ringleader in a passport forgery network, and confiscated more than 1,000 stolen passports. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

    Department of Special Investigation officers display stolen passports during a press conference at the Department of Special Investigation Headquarters in Bangkok,Thailand Wednesday, March. 18, 2015. The Thai Department of Special Investigation on Wednesday announced they had arrested an Iranian man who allegedly was a ringleader in a passport forgery network, and confiscated more than 1,000 stolen passports. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Department of Special Investigation officer displays stolen passports during a press conference at the Department of Special Investigation Headquarters in Bangkok,Thailand Wednesday, March. 18, 2015. The Thai Department of Special Investigation on Wednesday announced they had arrested an Iranian man who allegedly was a ringleader in a passport forgery network, and confiscated more than 1,000 stolen passports. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

    A Department of Special Investigation officer displays stolen passports during a press conference at the Department of Special Investigation Headquarters in Bangkok,Thailand Wednesday, March. 18, 2015. The Thai Department of Special Investigation on Wednesday announced they had arrested an Iranian man who allegedly was a ringleader in a passport forgery network, and confiscated more than 1,000 stolen passports. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)  (The Associated Press)

  • Department of Special Investigation officers display stolen passports during a press conference at the Department of Special Investigation Headquarters in Bangkok,Thailand Wednesday, March. 18, 2015. The Thai Department of Special Investigation on Wednesday announced they had arrested an Iranian man who allegedly was a ringleader in a passport forgery network, and confiscated more than 1,000 stolen passports. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

    Department of Special Investigation officers display stolen passports during a press conference at the Department of Special Investigation Headquarters in Bangkok,Thailand Wednesday, March. 18, 2015. The Thai Department of Special Investigation on Wednesday announced they had arrested an Iranian man who allegedly was a ringleader in a passport forgery network, and confiscated more than 1,000 stolen passports. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)  (The Associated Press)

Thai authorities have arrested an Iranian man they say led one of the largest passport forgery networks in the country.

Department of Special Investigation official Songsak Raksaksakul said police seized forgery equipment and 1,053 stolen passports from 64 countries, mostly in Europe, during the arrest on Sunday.

He said Wednesday that Murel Gurat, 45, was apprehended at a house in seaside Chonburi province. Songsak said Gurat's network had been operating in Thailand for more than a decade and was connected to groups of Bangladeshi and Pakistani forgers.

Thailand was in the spotlight as a hub for false document crimes last year after two of the passengers on vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 were found to have boarded the plane using passports stolen in Thailand.