Lia Ring, a Chinese national, had surgery to "remove and interchange" her fingerprints so she could enter Japan illegally, the Metropolitan Police Department's Organized Crime Control Bureau announced on Monday.
Ring, 27, had previously been deported from Japan for overstaying on her visa. She was only discovered when police arrested her for faking a marriage to a Japanese man and noticed unusual scars on her fingertips, reports the BBC.
The skin patches from the digits on her right and left hands were removed and then regrafted onto the matching digits of the opposite hand, according to Jiji Press news agency and the AFP.
The woman said she paid 100,000 yuan (14,600 dollars) for the procedure, according to reports.
The incident highlights how illegal techniques are being used to circumvent immigration procedures. The BBC says:
The apparent ability of illegal migration networks to break through hi-tech controls suggests that other countries who fingerprint visitors could be equally vulnerable - not least the United States, according to BBC Asia analyst Andre Vornic.