Taiwan mulls expanded customs measures against African swine fever

Taiwan considers more sniffer dogs, x-ray machines to counter meat smuggling

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Sniffer dog in action

Sniffer dog in action (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwanese authorities will consider expanding customs measures at airports to ensure banned meat products do not enter Taiwan, reported CNA.

The Council of Agriculture will propose expanded use of sniffer dogs at customs and use of x-ray machines at the upcoming meeting of the Central Emergency Operation Center on Jan. 4, with new measures potentially entering into force by the end of the month.

Amid growing concerns over the spread of African swine fever throughout China and the region, Taiwanese authorities have strived to enforce laws restricting meat products entering Taiwan. Some of these measures include improved signage, sending of a text message to people upon arrival to Taiwan, and an increased fine for those caught breaking the law.

From Dec. 14 to Dec. 30, 137 people were fined for brining meat from areas infected with African swine fever into Taiwan.

Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城), deputy head of the Council of Agriculture, told CNA that stiffer penalties did not deter passengers, saying that "raising fines is not an issue any more."

Under the plan, x-ray machines will be set up to monitor automated immigration clearance gates, while more sniffer dogs are likely to be used in customs areas.