The Latest Method of “Residence Card Counterfeiting,” a New Scheme by Chinese Criminal Groups
A "factory" in a rural area of Chiba Prefecture manufactures 20,000 cards and sells them for about 10,000 yen each. ...... still exists in many locations throughout the country.
An elegant triangular-roofed house in the peaceful countryside of the Boso Peninsula. One would expect to find a happy family living there, but in fact, this building is a factory for counterfeiting “residence cards,” which are issued to foreigners living in Japan as identification cards (first photo).
In September, a joint task force consisting of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Hyogo Prefectural Police, and five other prefectural police forces arrested five Chinese nationals and a Japanese national for violating the Immigration Control Act by providing forged residence cards to foreign brokers. The police arrested a total of six people, five Chinese nationals, a man and a woman, and a Japanese national, for violating the Immigration Control Act by providing forged residence cards to foreign brokers.
The six had been using the cards as a counterfeiting base at a residence in Asahi City, Chiba Prefecture, where a computerized list of 20,000 foreign customers was found, along with approximately 3,000 counterfeit card slips and 500 hologram stickers. The six are said to have sold up to 140 million yen since August of last year, making it Japan’s largest detection of a counterfeiting ring.
A neighbor of the “factory” mentioned above said, “I saw small children and thought it was a normal family living there. Anyway, I am glad they were arrested. However, it seems that counterfeit residence cards are far from being eradicated.
This arrest is just the tip of the iceberg.
This arrest is just the tip of the iceberg,” said a broker familiar with counterfeit resident card schemes.
In the past, counterfeit residence cards were ordered in Japan and sent to China, where they were made and brought to Japan by international mail. In recent years, however, highly accurate laminators (machines that apply a special film) that press hologram seals onto the card base have become smaller and less expensive, making it possible to perform the counterfeiting process in Japan. Since anyone with the right tools can make a counterfeit card, there are believed to be a number of manufacturing bases throughout Japan.
You can’t spot them first hand.
In fact, many sales pitches have been posted on the Chinese chat application WeChat, such as “We have the highest quality residence cards One of such postings is a message sent by a broker looking for a large transaction. When we sent a message to one of such postings, pretending to be a broker looking for a large transaction, we immediately received this reply: “500 yuan (about 10,000 yen) per card, large orders can be discounted.
I sent a message to one of them, pretending to be a broker looking for a large order, and received a reply right away: “500 yuan per piece, discount available for large orders.”
After sending a photo and name, and paying with “WeChat Pay The company said that the counterfeit residence cards would be delivered to me in two days after I sent my photo and name and made payment via “WeChat Pay. The vendor was very aggressive, saying, “We are confident of the quality, so please take a look at our samples.
We compared the “sample” we obtained with a genuine residence card, and found that there were only slight differences in texture and printing density, but nothing that could be discerned without examining them side by side.
Former judicial interpreter and journalist Zhou Laiyu also commented, “This is a marked improvement from the counterfeit cards that were circulating in the 1990s, when I was working as a judicial interpreter. Even police officers may not be able to spot them at a glance. Moreover, the “residence card number” on the card is believed to be a reproduction of an official one, and even if the Immigration and Residence Management Agency were to inquire about the number, it would be impossible to tell if the card was a counterfeit or not.
The counterfeiting group is mostly Chinese, and their main customers are Vietnamese. How are counterfeit residence cards used? A man who runs a construction business in the Kanto region reveals, “There is a chronic shortage of labor.
A man who runs a construction business in the Kanto region reveals, “In the manufacturing and construction industries, where there is a chronic shortage of labor, there are recruiters who mediate illegal aliens at low wages. Recently, a particularly large number of these workers are Vietnamese, and the companies require each registered worker to have a counterfeit residence card and present it to the company to which he or she will be dispatched. The companies are aware of the identity of the recruiters, but they do not carefully check the authenticity of the residence cards.
Those who employ illegal residency should also be held accountable. …… Hirotaro Kato, an attorney at Kato & Asakawa Law Office, points out, “The employers of illegal aliens are not responsible for their actions.
If you hire a foreigner who is working illegally, you are guilty of encouraging illegal employment, which carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 3 million yen. However, if the foreigner falsely claims that his/her stay or employment is legal by presenting a counterfeit residence card to his/her employer, the employer may not be charged as a “third party with good intentions.
Behind the continued appearance of counterfeit residence cards seems to be the chronic shortage of labor in the work place that Japanese society is facing.
From the November 18, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
Reporting and writing： Yuuki Okukubo (Writer)