An Indian man disguised as an 81-year-old has been caught with a fake passport and stopped just as he boarded a flight to the United States, authorities say.
Jayesh Patel, 32, was arrested at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday before a flight to New York. He had dyed his hair white hair as well as his beard and donned large spectacles in his bid to fool border authorities.
CCTV images show Patel arrived in a wheelchair and was initially waved through security and immigration checks.
In two separate incidents, #CISF nabbed two passengers, one each for impersonation and carrying dual passports at IGI Airport, New Delhi. Passengers handed over to Delhi Police officials. pic.twitter.com/Mo7Gazeeox
— CISF (@CISFHQrs) September 9, 2019
India TV New reported the man was avoiding eye contact during the interaction as he approached his boarding gate.
“The appearance and skin texture of the passenger seemed to be much younger than mentioned in the passport,” a senior CISF officer was quoted as saying. “The man was wearing zero-power glasses to conceal his age.”
His passport showed the name of Amrik Singh with the date of birth of February 2, 1938, according to the media outlet. “He was later handed over to immigration officials on charges of impersonation,” the CISF officer said.
According to Newsweek, Patel reportedly confessed his scheme to officials, telling them he got a job in the U.S., but was unable to get a visa.
“He was planning to go to the U.S. for a job. But his profile was such that he would not have gotten a visa easily,” a senior police officer reportedly told NDTV. “With a fake name — Amrik Singh, a fake address, he managed to get a passport and a U.S. visa.”
This is not the first time an international traveler has tried to age themselves and avoid border scrutiny.
In 2011, a young man from Hong Kong tried a similar scheme: Swapping travel papers with a 55-year-old man, he boarded a flight to Vancouver wearing a silicone mask that made him look like an older Caucasian. Once the flight took off, he slipped into the airplane bathroom and removed his disguise.
He was reportedly intercepted by border agents in Vancouver, who were tipped off by his youthful hands. After being caught the unnamed suspect applied for refugee status in Canada.