A Chinese woman arrested in Japan for illegal entry had altered her fingerprints through surgery to fool a biometric security system at the airport, media reports said Monday.

Tokyo police confirmed they had arrested Lin Rong, 27, for entering Japan with a fake passport one year ago and then staying on illegally.

Local media said Lin was previously deported to China in 2007 for overstaying, but managed to sneak back into Japan last year after surgery to change the skin on her thumbs and index fingers.

The skin patches from the digits on her right and left hands were removed and then re-grafted onto the matching digits of the opposite hand, Jiji Press news agency reported.

She told police she had paid about $16,000 for the surgery, leading investigators to believe Chinese brokers are arranging such fingerprint changes, the Yomiuri Shimbun Daily said.

A police spokesman said investigators were looking into the possibility that she had changed her fingerprints, but declined to comment in detail.

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