Fake fingerprints: plastic surgery for fingerprints?

The BBC is reporting that a Chinese woman managed to enter Japan illegally by having plastic surgery to alter her fingerprints, thus fooling immigration controls.

BBC reports:

Lin Rong, 27, had previously been deported from Japan for overstaying her visa. She was only discovered when she was arrested on separate charges.

Tokyo police said she had paid $15,000 (£9,000) to have the surgery in China.

It is Japan’s first case of alleged biometric fraud, but police believe the practice may be widespread.

Japanese police suspect Chinese brokers of taking huge sums to modify fingerprints surgically.

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.


Blank pages
/ nonexistent fingerprints

Stories about fingerprints fascinate me. This is probably because when I was growing up my maternal grandmother’s fingerprints were nonexistent. The tips of her fingers were blank and unmarked; she had smooth whorl-free skin where her fingerprints should have been.

where most of us have reams
of DNA information written —
the paper of her fingertips
was script free

Tabula rasa comes from Latin for a smoothed or erased tablet (a tablet being a surface to be written upon) and has come to stand for a blank slate, a new beginning or something in its original pristine state.

My grandmother passed away and took the secret of her tabulae rasae, her blank slates, with her leaving me with the memory of a mystery and an abiding fascination with fingerprints.

Links of interest:
Can fingerprints wear away?
Discussion: Fingerprint scans
I have no fingerprints

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