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China to Start Fingerprinting Foreign Visitors

  • Associated Press

Fugitive William Keegan had all 10 fingers surgically altered in the 1990's to obliterate his fingerprints above the first joint.

Millions of foreigners visiting China each year will now have their fingerprints collected.

The country's Ministry of Public Security said in a statement Thursday that it will begin taking visitors' fingerprints as they enter and exit the country. The requirement will apply to most people between the ages of 14 and 70.

The policy will go into effect starting in Shenzhen, the southern Chinese city bordering Hong Kong.

Chinese authorities counted more than 76 million entries and exits by foreigners last year. The visitors were primarily from South Korea, Japan, the United States and Russia.

The ministry said the new requirement is "an important measure to strengthen entry and exit management" that matches policies in other countries.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has fingerprinted most foreign visitors since 2004.