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Japanese biometric border check no match for, um, tape

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Japan's million-dollar biometric immigration screening systems are still no match for a little ingenuity - and some tape.

Two South Korean women have been arrested on suspicion of bypassing a cutting-edge fingerprint reading machine and illegally entering Japan by using special tape bearing the fingerprints other people.

The women slipped past the immigration process at Tokyo's Haneda airport in May and October 2008, according to The Japan Times. The two had reportedly laid low as nightclub hostesses, but were spotted after both received deportation orders in 2008 for overstaying their visas and had their fingerprints taken again.

Japan's biometric immigration system was installed in 30 airports in 2007 to improve security by keeping terrorists and foreigners with deportation records away. The country spent more than 4 billion yen ($44m, £27m) on the devices, which cross-check visitors' fingerprints with a database of fugitives and lawbreakers.

That tape on an index finger can bypass the system first came to light back in early 2009 when another South Korean woman slipped past immigration using the trick. She told authorities that a South Korean broker supplied her with special tape and a fake passport and that the broker used the same method to help many other foreigners illegally enter Japan.

Sounds like a better option than finger surgery. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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