Japanese police have arrested a Chinese woman whom they claim had her fingerprints removed from the fingertips of each hand and swapped to the other side in order to fool immigration controls. The woman, whom they arrested for unrelated fraud, is said to have have paid US$15,000 for the operation. Japanese police believe that it is a widespread practice.
Skin patches on her thumbs and index fingers were removed and then re-grafted on to the matching digits of the opposite hand.
Japanese newspapers said police had noticed that Ms Lin's fingers had unnatural scars when she was arrested last month for allegedly faking a marriage to a Japanese man.
The apparent ability of illegal migration networks to break through hi-tech controls suggests that other countries who fingerprint visitors could be equally vulnerable – not least the United States, according to BBC Asia analyst Andre Vornic.
(Image: Fingerprints, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from kevindooley's photostream)