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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (October 14, 1998 - Radio Australia/PACNEWS)---The Solomon Islands Parliament has passed legislation which bans the sale of passports and imposes heavy fines for either selling or illegally possessing them.

The legislation also makes airlines and shipping companies responsible for the cost of sending home violators who enter the Solomon Islands with illegal travel documents.

Hundreds of Solomon Islands passports have disappeared over the past few years and efforts to locate them generally have not been successful.

A government spokesperson said the new law shows the Solomon Islands is adamant about addressing the problem and protecting the sovereignty of the country.

Last week, the government of Tonga announced it, too, was ending its officially sanctioned program of passport sales.

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