Taiwan sends dogs to sniff out swine fever violators at Taoyuan Airport

Maximum fine for smuggling pork products raised to NT$1 million

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Dogs sniffing for banned pork at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on the first day of higher fines.

Dogs sniffing for banned pork at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on the first day of higher fines. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The day the maximum fine for smuggling banned meat products into the country was raised to NT$1 million (US$32,400), dogs were patrolling Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to prevent African swine fever to enter from China.

As the disease expanded over more than 20 provinces and cities in China, several instances were reported of the fever being found in packets of sausages and other pork brought into Taiwan by tourists.

The Council of Agriculture sent teams with dogs to Taiwan’s top international airport Friday morning to check passengers and luggage for traces of banned pork products, and found three cases, the Central News Agency reported.

A Taiwanese traveler surnamed Chan and two Chinese citizens named Li and Dai were each carrying ham sausages from China, according to CNA. None of them had declared they were bringing in pork, so all of them were fined for carrying 1 kilogram, 200 gram and 400 gram respectively.

Passengers flying in from areas affected by African swine fever, such as China, were targeted for special attention, while officials also used the occasion to spread information about the disease and advise travelers not to bring back potentially dangerous meat products.

The dogs also found fruit and seeds, which were taken away and immediately destroyed, CNA reported.

Friday December 14 marked the start of new higher fines for smuggling the banned meat products into the country from affected areas. A first-time violation would be fined NT$50,000 (US$1,600), a second NT$500,000, with the maximum fine rising to NT$1 million beginning from the third violation.

From September 18 until Thursday, a total of 131 incidents were reported at Taoyuan, according to official data.