TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A 55-year-old Chinese woman cried after being fined NT$200,000 (US$6,500) last night (Dec. 21) after being caught by Customs officers at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport trying to bring minced pork into Taiwan, reported CNA.
Taipei Customs said that, when the woman surnamed Huang (黃), who is married to a Taiwanese man, had returned to Taiwan on a Uni Air flight from Fuzhou, China, she tried to pass through the "Nothing to Declare" counter (Green Channel). However, Customs officers stopped her because she had not submitted a written or oral declaration.
Customs officers discovered that Huang was carrying 0.3 kilograms of undeclared pork in her luggage. She was then transferred to the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, where she was fined NT$200,000 for violating the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Diseases (動物傳染病防治條例規定).
While Huang waited at the counter in the bureau, she was concerned that she would not be allowed to enter the country and borrowed a cell phone to call her husband. Once she reached her husband, she began to sob and reportedly was overheard saying, "I just bought a little thing, how could I be fined so much money? How could it be like this? I didn't know I couldn't bring in meat."
Huang said that she had returned to her hometown in China, and knowing that she was going back to Taiwan, her friends suggested she buy some meat to take back as filling for tangyuan to eat with Taiwanese family members on Dongzhi (Winter Solstice). She then went to a market where she purchased some minced pork for about NT$225.
When asked by a CNA reporter whether she had heard the announcement on the plane or seen other information about the ban on bringing meat into Taiwan, she said that she is illiterate and did not understand what they were talking about on the plane. Huang said she was completely unaware of the ban and incredulously asked, "How could I know what African swine fever is?"
Huang said that she is married to a Taiwanese man and is not formally unemployed, but rather helps her family grow vegetables. Wiping back tears, Huang said that she had just obtained a Taiwan residence permit and said, "How can I pay such a fine? Where can I get NT$200,000, my husband will definitely curse me to death."
Contraband meat seized by customs officers. (CNA image)