Five people checked in but failed to board the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight which is missing over the South China Sea, officials have revealed.
At the same time, CCTV footage of two people who boarded the flight with stolen passports revealed that neither were "Asian looking", officials said in a news conference, but that they "looked like [Mario] Balotelli".
Kuala Lumpur officials are preparing to release pictures of the pair.
Intelligence experts are now investigating five people who did not board the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, as well as two passengers who boarded the flight on stolen passports.
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Sightings of debris from a Vietnamese plane has now been discounted as evidence of a crash, as has an oil slick, which tests have shown was a type used by ships in the cargo-heavy sea.
The two men using the stolen passports are said to have booked flights onward to Europe, which means they did not need Chinese visas and avoided the additional scrutiny that comes from visa application, ABC news reported.
A European diplomat in Kuala Lumpur told the channel that the city was a hub for illegal migrants.
"You shouldn't automatically think that the fact there were two people on the plane with false passports had anything to do with the disappearance of the plane," the diplomat said.
"The more you know about the role of Kuala Lumpur in this chain, the more doubtful you are of the chances of a linkage."
Fears are growing the plane may never be found, as authorities said they had intensified the search, involving 46 ships and 34 planes from nine countries.
Azaharuddin Abdul Rahman, the civil aviation head said that "positive evidence" was still needed and no one was planning on giving up the search.
“Unfortunately, we have not found anything that appears to be an object from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft,” he said.
"We will take as long as it takes to locate the plane.
“There are many theories that have been said in the media; many experts around the world have contributed their expertise and knowledge about what could happen, what happened.
"We are puzzled as well."