Chinese women face ID problem after cosmetic surgery trip

Published 12 August 2009

A group of Chinese women traveled to South Korea for plastic surgery; when they came back, their new looks did not match their passport photos, causing confusion for airport officers

A group of Chinese women who traveled to South Korea for cosmetic surgery baffled immigration officers on their return home when their new looks did not match their passport photos. The twenty-three women, who were aged between 36 and 54, had bigger eyes, higher noses, and slimmer chins than shown in their passports, the English-language China Daily reported Wednesday. “After they took off their huge hats and big sunglasses following our request, we saw them looking different, with bandages and stitches here and there,” Shanghai Hongqiao Airport officer Chen Tao told the paper. “We had to compare their uncorrected parts with their photos very carefully,” he said.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the identification process on Sunday took several minutes per woman, instead of the usual average of 45 seconds. “They told the officers that they are friends and that they had gone to South Korea together to have cosmetic surgery,” Chen said. “After they passed the identification, we asked them all to renew their passports immediately,” he told the daily.

Increasing prosperity in China has led to a corresponding rise in the numbers of people seeking cosmetic surgery, and greater social acceptance of the procedures.