Thu, Sep 05, 2019 - Page 1 News List

All Asian arrivals may face carry-on luggage checks

By Chien Hui-ju and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung talks to reporters yesterday at the Central Emergency Operation Center for African Swine Fever in Taipei.

Photo: Chien Hui-ju, Taipei Times

The Central Emergency Operation Center for African Swine Fever is considering expanding carry-on luggage inspections to include arrivals from all of Asia ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival on Friday next week, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday.

Pork is a common ingredient in mooncakes, which are traditionally eaten during the holiday.

Between Aug. 1 and Tuesday, 12 travelers were caught trying to bring mooncakes containing pork into the country, Chen told a news conference after presiding over the center’s 12th meeting in Taipei.

The offenders were arriving from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam and Japan via Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Kaohsiung International Airport, Taichung International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and the Port of Keelung, he said.

Taipei Customs on Tuesday said that three Taiwanese were each fined NT$200,000 on Sunday for attempting to bring mooncakes containing pork from China into the country.

The three people, surnamed Yin (尹), Peng (彭) and Liu (柳), were fined after inspectors respectively found 14kg, 0.75kg and 2.04kg of Chinese-made mooncakes with pork in their luggage upon arrival in Taoyuan, it said.

Inspections of carry-on luggage from Asian destinations are already carried out at all airports except in Taoyuan, Chen said.

The Taoyuan airport screens carry-on luggage arriving from 12 high-risk countries and regions, which make up about 60 percent of all arrivals at a peak rate of about 2,900 passengers per hour, he said.

Since the airport’s X-rays machines are capable of scanning the luggage of up to 4,000 passengers per hour, it is able to cover all inbound flights from Asia, he said.

To ensure that the border is “watertight,” the center is discussing with other government agencies whether to extend inspections of carry-on luggage at the airport for all passengers arriving from Asian countries or regions, he added.

Meanwhile, the owners of 3,128 pig transport vehicles — 1,221 for live animals, 1,406 for carcasses and 501 for animal parts — have vowed to install GPS trackers, the center said.

Installation has been completed on 2,624 of the vehicles, with the rest expected to be completed by the middle of this month, it said.

The center is to work with local governments to force the four farms that are still feeding illegal swill to pigs to make changes or stop raising the animals, it added.

Additional reporting by CNA

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