• The Financial District


Japanese police in Kobe have been increasingly encountering fake residence cards in recent times as more foreigners overstay their visas due to the high demand for workers across the country, Mainichi Shimbun reported. 

Investigators acted on 748 cases of possession, forgery and other offenses involving residence cards in 2019 alone, according to the National Police Agency. Crime groups have sought out foreigners through social media to sell fake residence cards workers can use to remain employed even after their visas have expired, according to the police. 

Among 29 residence statuses in Japan, the most highly sought-after cards are those provided to permanent and long-term residents who are permitted to engage in any kind of work and switch jobs at will, they said. The number of foreign workers in the country hit a record 1,658,804 as of October last year, according to a tally by the labor ministry, Kyodo news agency also reported. 

In July, a Chinese man and a Chinese woman were arrested for allegedly counterfeiting a residence card for a Vietnamese man whose visa had expired. The couple was operating the forgery operation out of an apartment in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture. The police said they found data related to around 1,800 forged items, including residence cards, driver's licenses and pension handbooks, in a computer confiscated from the couple. The Chinese pair had accepted orders from Vietnamese, Indonesian and Chinese people who had overstayed, as well as interns and students, according to investigators.

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