With plastic surgery getting more popular — and in particular with people frequently traveling abroad for plastic surgery, either because it’s cheaper or higher quality elsewhere — I’m surprised we don’t hear stories like this more often. Daily Mail has the story of three Chinese women who allegedly traveled to South Korea for plastic surgery, only to be denied their return flights because they looked nothing like their IDs. Per the story:
It’s believed that the three women, who remain unidentified, had taken the advantage of the ‘Golden Week’ and travelled to the neighbouring South Korea to undergo plastic surgery.
The picture was said to be posted by Jian Huahua, a Chinese news anchor, on her social media on October 8.
The post claimed that the three women had been prevented from leaving the airport. They were waiting for their identities to be confirmed.
Photo credit: Daily Mail
With over 500,000 Chinese tourists traveling abroad every year for plastic surgery (and I imagine millions of people around the world doing the same), I’m surprised this problem isn’t more common.
Then again, I guess I question how representative IDs really are of how someone is supposed to look, and how much attention officials really pay. My driver’s license photo is the same one I had when I got my learner’s permit over 12 years ago, when I was 15. I’ve been able to renew my driver’s license without ever going back to the DMV (thank goodness). While I’ve never actually had issues with it, TSA agents will often do a double take, or say “this is you?” However, I’ve never been questioned beyond that.
It seems like the only reasonable solution here is for countries to rely more heavily on biometric data. When we rely on photos, and photos don’t match on arrival and departure, it’s only natural that this throws off authorities. Furthermore, it’s not like showing medical records of what was done could really help, since those could easily be falsified and used to smuggle people with false passports.
(Tip of the hat to Points, Miles & Martinis)