Blog 22 Sep 2023
The Story of Chinese Twins Who Swapped Passports and Fooled Global Airport Security Checks

The Story of Chinese Twins Who Swapped Passports and Fooled Global Airport Security Checks

Author: Soban K | 22 Sep 2023

In the world of identity and travel, some stories really stand out. One such story is about two identical twins from Harbin, China, who go on an amazing adventure by trading passports and identities. While this story makes a great entertainment piece, it also raises grave concerns about airport security and potential crime due to a lack of twin identification. Let’s take a look at how they made it happen!

Meet the Zhou Sisters

Let’s get to know the Zhou sisters, two young ladies from Harbin, China. Their adventure began with a simple idea but turned into a series of exciting and risky events.

Hong, one of the twins, really wanted to join her husband in Japan. She kept trying to get a visa to Japan but it got refused every time. Tired of constant rejections, they came up with a daring plan that would change their lives.

Wei, Hong’s twin, had a visa for Japan and since they looked so much alike, they had an idea to travel on each other’s passports. Hong decided to use Wei’s passport to travel and what was supposed to be a one-time thing, turned into much more. 

The Story of Chinese Twins Who Swapped Passports and Fooled Global Airport Security Checks

Hong made it to Japan without any major trouble and the two kept swapping passports to travel to more countries including Brazil and Russia. These countries including Japan and China have some of the most sophisticated airport security systems, but yet the two twins went unnoticed. 

However, Chinese authorities finally found out earlier this year and put their adventure to an end. Their story became a sensation in China and eventually reached all parts of the world. Chinese authorities were lauded for their efforts but upon listening to this story, many more cases came forward where people misused twin differentiation for several purposes.

Surprising Security Gaps

Despite biometric checkpoints and strict security measures, it was a huge concern for airports and global security that the twins were able to travel without any hassle. China is known for its tight security and Japan is known as one of the most innovative countries in the world in terms of technology and automation. 

Facia's 1:n face search strengthens public safety, Airport Checks and surveillance efforts, identifying individuals from databases for enhanced security.

How could have this been prevented?

In today’s world, advanced solutions like Facia’s iris recognition technology could have prevented passport swapping and identified twins at the first instant. Where faces can have similarities and other biometric checkpoints be fooled, Iris recognition offers complete distinction from one retina map to another. 

Facia’s advanced Immigration automation

Facia provides a coherent immigration automation solution that takes care of the complete immigration process. It uses advanced AI-driven liveness detection and iris recognition systems to ensure that only authorised individuals are granted access.


The story is nothing short of fascinating, but it also presents a serious case of identity theft. From the point of view of authorities, it is quite alarming. The misuse of such security lapses could potentially bring about significant consequences. Particularly in cases where two twins may not agree with each other and one could use the other for fraudulent activities. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who checks security airport lines?

Security airport lines are managed and checked by the airport’s security personnel, often in collaboration with national or regional aviation authorities and sometimes with input from specific airline staff.

What triggers additional airport security checks?

Security checks can be triggered by various factors: suspicious behaviour, specific travel patterns, anomalies during initial screenings, random selection, or alerts from metal detectors or scanners.

How many security checks are in an airport?

The number of security checks varies by airport and country. Typically, passengers undergo at least one main security screening after check-in, but before boarding. Additionally, there might be further checks at the boarding gate or upon international arrival.

Do all airports have the same security procedures?

No, security procedures can vary between airports and countries. Factors like national regulations, airport size, threat levels, and available technology can influence the type and extent of security measures implemented.

Is the passport swap a broader problem?

While the incident with the twins is alarming, it’s essential to view it as an isolated event. However, it does underscore the importance of constantly updating and refining security measures in response to emerging threats and challenges.