Travel

Twin sisters changed passports to travel abroad more than 30 times

According to Chinese news outlet Harbin Daily, a pair of twin sisters in China changed their passports and identity cards more than 30 times in order to travel abroad before they were caught.

The Zhou sisters who


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from the northern Chinese city of Harbin were arrested and are currently under investigation, the publication said on Monday, citing local police.

It all started when one of the sisters, Hong (a pseudonym given out by the authorities), wanted to go to Japan to be with her Japanese husband. However, her application for a visa to the country was repeatedly rejected, the publication reports.

However, her twin Wei (also a pseudonym) had a valid Japanese visa, so Hong decided to take advantage of their similar looks and borrowed Wei’s passport for her trip, according to Harbin Daily. Hong later used the same method to travel between China, Japan and Russia at least 30 times, according to the publication, citing police.

Meanwhile, Wei used Hong’s passport four times to travel to Thailand and “other countries”.

Chinese authorities uncovered the scam earlier this year, though it’s not clear how the ruse finally came to light, the publication reports. Both sisters returned to China in May, according to the publication.

The story blew up on Chinese social media this week, with the hashtag “twins exchanged identities and went abroad over 30 times” garnering over 360 million views on the Twitter-like platform Weibo.

Comparing this story to the movie script, some Weibo users were in awe of how the twins managed to fool the immigration officers so many times.

“I always dreamed that my twin took school exams instead of me,” one user joked.

Many people also question the apparent lack of fingerprint checks at the borders. “Even the most advanced technology could not detect it. It’s incredible, ”commented the user.

Perhaps even more incredible is how this ploy took place in China, where the movements of citizens are closely monitored. In 2018, Chinese state media People’s Daily said that the government’s facial recognition technology is capable of scanning the faces of the country’s 1.4 billion citizens in just one second.

The country’s strict border controls have also been further tightened in recent months following the spread of several Covid outbreaks across the country.

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