Hungary: Fraudulent documentation including types of fraudulent documents available and their prevalence; how they are obtained; who is producing and distributing them; how documents are falsified; state efforts to counter their usage
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Publication Date||10 December 2012|
|Citation / Document Symbol||HUN104099.E|
|Related Document(s)||Hongrie : information sur les documents frauduleux, dont les types de documents frauduleux se trouvant sur le marché et leur fréquence; la façon de les obtenir; les personnes qui les produisent et les distribuent; la façon dont les documents sont falsifiés; les efforts de l'État pour mettre fin à leur utilisation|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Hungary: Fraudulent documentation including types of fraudulent documents available and their prevalence; how they are obtained; who is producing and distributing them; how documents are falsified; state efforts to counter their usage, 10 December 2012, HUN104099.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/51e4f5cf4.html [accessed 19 January 2018]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
1. Fraudulent Documentation, Overview
Statistics from the Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance (Hungary 11 Nov. 2004), show 240 cases of forgery of public documents in 2010 and 1,661 cases in 2011 (ibid. 2011). The report also lists 1,477 cases of forgery of private documents in 2010 and 1,068 in 2011 (ibid.). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, an official of the Hungarian Ministry of Interior stated that, in 2011, police detected 1,532 forged or fraudulent documents, including 187 identification cards, 214 passports, 225 visas and residence permits, and 581 forged entry and exit stamps (ibid. 2 Oct. 2012). Other documents included driver's licences and vehicle registration certificates (ibid.). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Document Integrity Unit indicated that most fraudulent Hungarian documents reported to them were used outside of Hungary and included national identification cards and driver's licences (Canada 19 Oct. 2012).
According to the official of the Ministry of Interior, production of "non-existing" documents and abuse of authentic documents by impostors were common in Hungary (Hungary 2 Oct. 2012). The official stated that fraudulent documents were often used for illegal border crossing and human smuggling (ibid.). Most of the cases of fraudulent documents were related to the activities of organized criminal groups (ibid.). The official explained that these groups make fraudulent documents available through "stooges," who can be found in the markets, shopping malls, and night clubs (ibid.). The price of forged Hungarian documents varies between 1,300 and 1,500 euros [C$1,685-1,944 (XE 31 Oct. 2012a; ibid. 31 Oct. 2012b)] (Hungary 2 Oct. 2012). Fraudulent Slovakian, Romanian, Ukrainian and Serbian documents can be bought in Hungary for approximately 1,000-1,200 euros [C$1,296-1,556 (XE 31 Oct. 2012c; ibid. 31 Oct. 2012d)] (Hungary 2 Oct. 2012).
The official further explained that organized criminal groups produced fraudulent documents by running
small legal business companies, mostly IT shops, where the necessary equipment is in place. The different phases of the forgery are produced in different locations.
Travel documents are forged or falsified by office equipment (PC, scanner, printer, etc.). Photo substitution is quite popular in case of travel documents. (ibid.)
Corroborating information could not be found among sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
The Hungarian Criminal Code specifies the punishments for forgery of official documents:
The person who
prepares a forged official document or falsifies the contents of an official document,
uses a fake or forged official document or an official document issued under the name of somebody else,
co-operates in the inclusion of untrue data, facts or declarations in an official document regarding the existence, changing or termination of a right or obligation, commits a felony and shall be punishable with imprisonment of up to three years.
The person who is engaged in the preparation for the forging of official documents as defined in Paragraphs a) or b) of Subsection (1) is guilty of misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment not to exceed one year, work in community service, or a fine.
The person who performs the forging of official documents defined in subsection (1), paragraph c) by negligence, shall be punishable for a misdemeanor with fine. (Hungary 1978, Sec. 274)
Section 275 of the Criminal Code provides that an official who abuses his or her power and "prepares a forged official document or falsifies the contents of an official document" or "includes falsely an essential fact in an official document" shall be punished by imprisonment for up to five years (ibid., Sec. 275).
According to Section 276 of the Criminal Code,
[t]he person who uses a fake, forged private document or a private document with untrue contents for providing evidence for the existence, changing or termination of a right or obligation, commits a misdemeanor, and shall be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, labour in the public interest, or fine. (ibid., Sec. 276)
Information on the effectiveness and implementation of the legislation could not be found among sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
3. State Efforts
The official of the Ministry of Interior stated that, in order to reduce the prevalence of forged or fraudulent documents, Hungary has been issuing only biometric travel documents since 2008, except for temporary travel documents, which have a one-year validity (Hungary 2 Oct. 2012). Sources indicate that Hungary introduced biometric passports in 2006 (EU 24 June 2009; AP 29 Aug. 2006; HCLU 1 Sept. 2006).
According to the Ministry of Interior official, border police officers receive two weeks of training on how to inspect documents (Hungary 2 Oct. 2012). Every border crossing is supplied with the necessary equipment for inspecting documents (ibid.). In addition, other tools, such as the National Image and Document Archiving System, which contains images and descriptions of the available authentic documents and detected falsified documents, are used by police officers and consular officers (ibid.). The official indicated that police officers use the FADO system in their daily work (ibid.). FADO is a European image-archiving system which was set up for the purpose of exchanging information about genuine and false documents recorded by the European Union Member States (EU 27 July 2007). The official further stated that in 2011 and 2012, 5,800 police officers received two days of training related to document inspection (Hungary 2 Oct. 2012). As of 2012, civil servants of Document Service Centres, which are responsible for the issuance of travel documents, identity documents and driver's license, also receive basic training on document fraud (ibid.). Corroborating information on police training related to documents could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
Magyar Tavirati Iroda (MTI), a Budapest-based English language news agency, reports that, in 2009, police arrested a Hungarian man who allegedly committed numerous crimes, including embezzlement and forgery of documents (9 Jan. 2009). Associated Press reported on 19 April 2009 that, in the previous two years, Hungarian police, in cooperation with British police, had arrested 98 people who were connected to a human smuggling ring. The arrested individuals included some who had prepared fake documents for the illegal Vietnamese immigrants targeted by the scheme (AP 19 Apr. 2011; MTI 29 Oct. 2009). Further information on the arrests and the results of the investigations could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Associated Press (AP). 29 April 2011. Pablo Gorondi and Bela Szandelszky. "British, Hungarian Police Crack Down on EU-wide Smuggling Network that Targets Vietnamese." (Factiva)
_____. 29 August 2006. "Hungary Introduces Biometric Passports." (Factiva).
Canada. 19 October 2012. Canada Border Services Agency. Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.
European Union (EU). 24 June 2009. European Commission. "HU: Fingerprint in Hungarian Passports [Accessed 2 Nov. 2012]
_____. 27 July 2007. "FADO Image-archiving System." [Accessed 6 Dec. 2012]
Hungary. 2 October 2012. Correspondence sent by an official to the Research Directorate.
_____. . Customs and Finance Guard. "Detection Data." [Accessed 28 Sept. 2012]
_____. 11 November 2004. Customs and Finance Guard. "History of the Customs and Finance Guard." [Accessed 31 Oct. 2012]
_____. 1978. Criminal Code. Translated from Hungarian. [Accessed 30 Oct. 2012]
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU). 1 September 2006. "Biometric Passport from the Beginning of This Week." [Accessed 2 Nov. 2012]
Magyar Tavirati Iroda (MTI). 29 October 2009. "Vietnamese Human Smugglers Arrested in Budapest." (Factiva)
_____. 9 January 2009. "Police Arrests Hungarian Fraudster Living Under Slovene Identity." (Factiva)
XE. 31 October 2012a. "Currency Converter Widget." [Accessed 31 Oct. 2012]
_____. 31 October 2012b. "Currency Converter Widget." [Accessed 31 Oct. 2012]
_____. 31 October 2012c. "Currency Converter Widget." [Accessed 31 Oct. 2012]
_____. 31 October 2012d. "Currency Converter Widget." [Accessed 31 Oct. 2012]
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral Sources: Attempts to contact representatives of the following organizations were unsuccessful: Budapest Times, Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard, Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Institute of Criminology in Budapest, and Transparency International in Budapest. Attempts to contact academics of the following institutions were unsuccessful: University of Pecs, ELTE (Eötvös Loránd) University in Budapest, and University of Debrecen.
Internet sites, including: Agence France-Presse; Amnesty International; Atlatszo.hu; Budapest Times; Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, York University; Council of Europe; Crime and Justice International; Document Checker; European Union - Anti-fraud Office, European Parliament; ecoi.net; EUobserver; Europol; Europa World; Factiva; Freedom House; Frontex; The Guardian; Hungary - Central Office for Administrative and Electronic Public Services, Customs and Finance Guard, Embassy of Hungary in London, UK, Honorary Consulate General in Vancouver, Interpol, National Police, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Development Agency, Website of the Hungarian Government; Human Rights Watch; Human Trafficking; Hungarian Helsinki Committee; International Organization for Migration; Interpol; Jane's Intelligence Review; Jane's Terrorism and Security Monitor; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Sofia News Agency; Trafficking Monitor; UK - Serious Organized Crime Agency; UN - Integrated Regional Information Network, Refworld; US - Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.