Is this photo of a Chinese passport 'ruined by boy's drawing' a fake?

News reports claimed the father was stuck in South Korea because of his son's handiwork

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The Independent Online

This picture of a Chinese passport apparently defaced by a four-year-old boy has gone viral around the world, but is it a hoax?

According to reports in China, the boy used his unfortunate father’s passport as a colouring book during a family trip to South Korea.

The man’s face was given dark eyes and a large beard and drawings of animals and scribbles appeared all over the official document.

He was reportedly stuck in South Korea because officials would not accept the “unrecognisable” identification.

A picture was originally posted on Chinese social networking site Weibo by a person claiming to be the father, known as Chen, with a plea for help.

But the entertaining tale has been greeted with suspicion by some who say the “drawing” looks a lot like an adult’s handiwork on Photoshop or MS Paint.

Observers have pointed out that the thickness of the lines is unusually uniform and on the far right of the passport, a drawing seems to run off the passport onto the white space behind.

The lines do not seem to follow the curve of the document or have made any indentation, and the “ink” is not smudged anywhere on the glossy page.

The passport was apparently scribbled on by a child

It seems almost too convenient that the man’s name, signature, passport number and its code have been scribbled out while other details are unobscured.

Chinese media reported a warning from the Government for people to take good care of their passports with the story and some have speculated it could even be propaganda created by the Communist state.

Whatever the case is – it’s reminded us all to keep the pens away from the passport.