TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In order to prevent the contagion of African swine disease onto the island, Taiwan has beefed up penalties for bringing meat into the country up to a heavy fine of NT$200,000 (US$6,500); however, customs authorities said they see no decline in the number of travelers attempting to smuggle contraband meat at the airport, according to CNA.
According to reports from the Customs Administration, five passengers were caught carrying processed meat, chicken feet, and Chinese sausages at Taoyuan International Airport on Dec.28. Two of them were from China and the other three were Taiwanese nationals. They received a fine of NT$200,000 (US$6,500) for bringing pork and NT$30,000 for chicken.
Starting from Dec. 18, the new penalties for individuals bringing meat products into Taiwan raised from NT$50,000 for the first offense, to NT$200,000. And those who violated for two or more times would receive a fine as high as NT$1 million. Nevertheless, the Customs Administration said they were reported with at least one violation from the airport every day despite the heavy fine going under effect.
Taiwanese custom authorities said most of the offenders, when asked whether they received any warnings about the meat restrictions during the check-in process and in-flight announcements prior to the plane's landing, replied that they were unaware or haven't paid attention to it.
Once again, the public is advised not to smuggle pork and other banned meat products into the island as Taiwan has taken African swine fever disease prevention as the top priority for 2019.