17 passengers fined over weekend for smuggling meat into Taiwan

17 passengers have been fined over weekend for trying to smuggle meat products into Taiwan

Smuggled meat from China. (Image from Kaohsiung Customs)

Smuggled meat from China. (Image from Kaohsiung Customs)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A total of 17 passengers have been fined for trying to bring meat products into Taiwan since stiffer fines have been put in place, announced the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) yesterday (Dec. 16), reported CNA.

After the amendment to raise the maximum fine for smuggling banned meat products into the country entered into force on Friday, Dec. 14, a total of 17 cases of meat being seized from passengers at airports and ports were reported from 4 p.m. Dec. 15 to 4 p.m. Dec. 16, according to the latest statistics from the BAPHIQ. Of the 17 cases, 10 were passengers arriving from China. The law was amended in an attempt to prevent African swine fever (ASF) from spreading to Taiwan as it rapidly proliferates across China.

The latest amendment to Article 45-1 of the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease has increased the fine for those caught smuggling meat from areas infected with ASF to NT$50,000 (NT$1,600) for first-time offenders, NT$500,000 for second-time offenders, and NT$1 million for repeat offenders. Passengers who bring in livestock or poultry and other products from areas affected by hoof and mouth disease or avian influenza will face a fine of NT$30,000 for first-time offenders, NT$300,000 for second-time offenders, and NT$3 million for repeat offenders.

Seized chicken meat floss product from Vietnam. (CNA image)

In the two days before the amendment went into effect, eight cases of smuggled meat were reported, however, by day three of the new law, reports of violations more than doubled. Of the 17 cases of passengers caught smuggling meat into the country, 13 were Taiwanese, two were Chinese, one was Thai, and one was Indonesian.

According to the BAPHIQ, four seizures each took place at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Taipei Songshan Airport, and one each was reported at Taichung International Airport (TIA) and Kinmen airport. Among the 10 meat products seized, five were pork products, incurring fines of NT$50,000 each; four were poultry products, resulting in a fine of NT$30,000 each; and one was dog and cat food, drawing a fine of NT$10,000.

Four smuggled products were from Vietnam, including pork and poultry products, resulting in fines of NT$30,000 each. Two of the products were seized at Kaohsiung International Airport, one was confiscated at Taichung Airport, and one was intercepted at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Seized meat on Saturday (Dec. 15). (Image from BAPHIQ)

In addition, the Indonesian and Thai passengers were both fined NT$30,000 when trying to smuggle meat into the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Meanwhile, a passenger trying to bring in pork sausages from Hungary was fined NT$50,000 at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

According to statistics from the BAPHIQ, 33 cases of smuggled meat products have been reported from 10 a.m. Dec. 14 to 4 p.m. Dec. 16. A total of 11 of which have resulted in fines of up to NT$50,000.

The bureau said that as the new law has just come into effect, it will be evaluated and adjusted based on the growth or decline in violations. As the penalty for passengers carrying animal products has been increased, it advised the public to not try to defy the law.

Seized meat products. (Image from BAPHIQ)