TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - As fears rage about the eventual spread of African swine fever from China to Taiwan, the coast guard found more than 7 kilos of pork on board of a Chinese fishing trawler, but a pig carcass located on a beach in Yilan County had nothing to do with the disease, reports said Wednesday.
Just a day earlier, the Council of Agriculture announced that the fine for first-time offenders smuggling in banned meat from certain areas, including China and Hong Kong, was being hiked immediately to NT$200,000 (NT$6,489), with repeat offenders facing a NT$1 million fine.
Early Wednesday morning, a coast guard unit from Keelung stopped a Chinese ship from fishing illegally in Taiwanese territorial waters. After they had forced the vessel to enter harbor, inspectors boarded it and discovered 4.4 kilograms of raw pork and 1.3 kilo of cooked pork in a refrigerator in the crew’s living quarters, the Apple Daily reported.
The 14 Chinese crew members were barred from leaving their ship while it was disinfected by a specialist team. The authorities decided the pork should stay on board and return to China with the fishing trawler once it was allowed to leave, according to the Apple Daily.
The crew would be confined to a detention center in Wanli, New Taipei City, until a fine was decided.
In a separate incident, a dead pig was found on a beach in the Yilan County town of Wujie. Agriculture and animal disease prevention experts investigated the carcass and came to the preliminary conclusion that this was not a case of African swine fever though they will conduct further tests, the Apple Daily reported.
Netizens expressed the fear that the dead animal might have floated across the Taiwan Strait before reaching Yilan.