Photos of three Chinese women allegedly stuck in a South Korean airport, because their passports no longer match their faces following plastic surgery, have been doing the rounds on Chinese social media.
South Korean plastic surgery clinics are renowned as some of the best in the world, so it's no surprise that women from other Asian countries, like China and Japan, regularly fly to South Korea to get work done on their faces. The problem is that few of them stop at nose jobs, face lifts and Botox injections. Instead, they completely remodel their faces, making it difficult for airport personnel to identify them from their passport photo.
When we first covered the topic of South Korean plastic surgery tourism and the difficulties posed by these extreme transformations, we mentioned that many clinics were offering "plastic surgery certificates" to overseas clients, to help them convince immigration officers that they are who they say they are. These certificates include the patient's passport number, the duration of stay, the name and location of the hospital and the hospital's official seal.
Travelers passing through airport customs with these plastic surgery certificates are usually identified by whatever facial features were left unchanged by plastic surgeons, and while the person-to-passport verification takes a lot longer, people are usually allowed through. Unfortunately, for three Chinese women trying to return from South Korea, the certificates didn't help much.
The problem with facial plastic surgery is that the body needs some time to recover from the procedure, something that three ladies who had spent their recent Golden Week holiday getting their faces enhanced did not take into consideration. They showed up at the airport with their faces extremely swollen and wrapped in bandages, and it was virtually impossible for immigration officers to identify them by their passport photos.
A photo of the three women waiting in the airport with passports in hand has been doing the rounds on social media, and sparking numerous humorous comments from users.
"With faces so swollen, even your own mother wouldn't be able to recognise you," one person wrote.
"Forgive me, I don't mean to laugh but their faces are really so swollen," another said.