Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on January 12th, 2009
Hi Blog. Here’s an update about that old fingerprinting at the border thingie “to prevent terrorism, infectious diseases, and foreign crime”. Here’s one way how you get around it: special tape on your fingers! Two articles on this below.
Also, just so that people are aware that your fingerprints are NOT cross-checked immediately within the database: I have a friend who always uses different fingers when he comes back into Japan (index fingers one time, middle fingers the next, alternating; Immigration can’t see), and he has NEVER been snagged (on the spot or later) for having different fingerprints from one time to the next. Try it yourself and see. Anyway, if people are getting caught, it’s for passports, not fingerprints. Arudou Debito
SKorean fools finger printing system at Japan airport: reports
TOKYO (AFP) – A South Korean woman barred from entering Japan last year passed through its immigration screening system by using tape on her fingers to fool a fingerprint reading machine, reports said Thursday.
The biometric system was installed in 30 airports in 2007 to improve security and prevent terrorists from entering into Japan, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.
The woman, who has a deportation record, told investigators that she placed special tapes on her fingers to pass through a fingerprint reader, according to Kyodo News.
Japan spent more than four billion yen (44 million dollars) to install the system, which reads the index fingerprints of visitors and instantly cross-checks them with a database of international fugitives and foreigners with deportation records, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.
The South Korean woman was deported in July 2007 for illegally staying in Japan after she worked as a bar hostess in Nagano in central Japan, Kyodo said, citing justice ministry sources.
She was not allowed to re-enter Japan for five years after deportation but the Tokyo immigration bureau found her in August 2008 again in Nagano, Kyodo said.
A South Korean broker is believed to have supplied her with the tapes and a fake passport, the Yomiuri said, adding that officials believe many more foreigners might have entered Japan using the same technique.
The abovementioned Yomiuri article, courtesy of Jeff K and Tony K:
S. Korean woman ‘tricked’ airport fingerprint scan
A South Korean woman entered Japan on a fake passport in April 2008 by slipping through a state-of-the-art biometric immigration control system using special tape on her fingers to alter her fingerprints, it was learned Wednesday.
According to sources, the woman, 51, was deported from Japan in 2007 for staying illegally. However, she was found in August 2008 to have reentered the country and was detained by the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau.
The woman was quoted as telling the immigration bureau that she put special tape on her index fingers to cheat the fingerprint scanner at immigration.
The biometric system was introduced at 30 airports around the country in November 2007, and was aimed mainly at preventing entry by international terrorists. A scanner reads the index fingerprints of both hands and instantly crosschecks these with a database of international fugitives and foreigners with deportation records.
The sources said the fact that the woman was so easily able to beat the sophisticated computer system will force the government into a drastic review of its counterterrorist measures and the current screening immigration system.
The immigration bureau reported to the Justice Ministry that a considerable number of South Koreans might have entered Japan illegally using the same technique, as a South Korean broker is believed to have helped the woman enter Japan. The ministry also has begun an investigation into the case.
According to immigration officials, the bureau held the woman in mid-July 2007 for working illegally in the city of Nagano as a hostess after her tourist visa expired. She was banned from reentering Japan for five years and deported to South Korea from Narita Airport.
However, the bureau was tipped off by an anonymous source in early August last year that the woman had been seen again in Nagano. The bureau found she was living in an apartment in the city and detained her again on suspicion of violating the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law.
According to the immigration officials, the woman had a forged passport stating that she had passed immigration checks at Aomori Airport in Aomori Prefecture at the end of April last year.
During questioning, the woman allegedly told the immigration bureau that she had bought a forged passport from a South Korean broker who told her to purchase an air ticket for Aomori Airport.
The woman also was quoted as saying that the broker gave her the special tape with someone else’s fingerprints on, and that she slipped past the biometric recognition system by holding her taped index fingers over the scanner.
According to an analysis by the bureau, regular adhesive tape does not work, as the scanner fails to read any prints. The results have led the immigration bureau to suspect that the woman might have used a special tape bearing someone else’s fingerprints.
Although the bureau detained the woman at an immigration facility for further questioning, she did not provide information that pinpointed what the tape is made of or the South Korean broker before she was deported again in mid-September.
The bureau has compiled a report based on her statements and submitted it to the Justice Ministry. The report says it is conceivable such tape exists and that the South Korean broker might have helped a considerable number of foreigners enter Japan using it.
According to the ministry, the immigration section at Aomori Airport kept images of the woman’s fingerprints, but they were imperfect and did not match the genuine fingerprints of the woman.