Tue, Jan 07, 2020 - Page 2 News List

Travelers carrying pork issued US$4.5m in fines

Staff writer, with CNA

Airport staff check arriving passengers’ luggage at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Friday last week.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Since fines for bringing in pork products from countries affected by African swine fever were increased on Dec. 18, 2018, the government has fined inbound travelers about US$4.5 million.

As of Sunday last week, 678 people had been fined the increased penalty of NT$200,000 (US$6,642) for contravening the ban, figures from the Central Emergency Operation Center for African Swine Fever showed.

The pork products came mainly from China (589 cases), Vietnam (56 cases), South Korea (21 cases) and the Philippines (12 cases), the center said.

Of the 678 perpetrators, 354 were Chinese and 233 were Taiwanese. Among the others fined were 32 Vietnamese, 12 Koreans and 11 Filipinos.

Swine fever outbreaks in Asia have shown no signs of abating and to date 11 Asian countries or territories have reported outbreaks since August 2018 when the virus was first identified in Asia, the center said.

Between Aug. 27, 2018, and Thursday last week, 216 of a total of 2,844 samples of pork products that were illegally brought into Taiwan and dumped tested positive for the disease, the center said, adding that 167 were from China and 49 from Vietnam.

First-time offenders illegally importing meat products into Taiwan from areas affected by the virus within the past three years are fined NT$200,000, with the penalty increasing to NT$1 million for repeat offenders, the center said.

Fines are imposed even for snacks such as pork jerky.

First-time foreign offenders who do not pay the fine can be denied entry into Taiwan, the center said.

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