Fingerprint Surgery Fools Japanese Immigration
Woman has fingerprints swapped to dodge biometric border control
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2009 5:39 AM CST
An immigration officer checks a foreigner arriving in Japan using a digital fingerprint reader.   (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
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(Newser) – An illegal immigrant slipped past Japan's biometric security system by having surgery to swap her fingerprints, according to Japanese authorities. The Chinese woman, deported after overstaying her visa last year, had skin patches on thumbs and index fingers removed and regrafted onto the opposite hands, the BBC reports.

Police uncovered the fingerprint fraud when they arrested the woman for faking a marriage to a Japanese man and noticed strange scars on her thumbs and fingers. It is the first such case to come to authorities' attention. But officials believe the practice may be widespread, calling into question the effectiveness of biometric border controls in Japan and other countries, including the US.