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The arrests of seven people in Spain and three in Thailand this week represent a major achievement in dismantling one of the world’s most notorious forgery rings - one known for its skill in providing fake documents to criminal and terrorism enterprises - said Jaime Fa, a police attache at the Spanish Embassy in Bangkok.

Muhammad Athar Butt, 39, and Zeeshan Ehsan Butt, 27, both of Pakistan; and Sirikanya Kitbamrung, 25, of Thailand were arrested at a checkpoint Tuesday while trying to enter Laos. They could face charges of receiving stolen passports from networks in Spain and elsewhere in Europe via regular mail and then altering the passports for clients.


Ex-president begins serving graft sentence

TAIPEI | Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian was moved Thursday from a jail to a penitentiary to formally begin serving a 19-year sentence, after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction on wide-ranging graft charges.

Chen, 60, looking relaxed and alert, was taken by a police van from the suburban Tucheng Detention Facility to Taipei Penitentiary in neighboring Taoyuan county.

The pro-independence leader, who broke the 50-year monopoly on power of the rival Nationalist Party in 2000, was convicted in 2009 on charges of embezzling $3.15 million from a special presidential fund, receiving bribes worth at least $9 million and laundering some of the money through Swiss bank accounts.