Taiwan ramps up airport security ahead of Lunar New Year

Taoyuan airport to install more x-ray machines, expand checks on inbound luggage

Customs check at Taoyuan airport

Customs check at Taoyuan airport (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In a bid to beef up security at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday period, the Ministry of Interior said it has bought a number of x-ray machines, will expand checks on incoming hand luggage, and requested more aviation police, reported CNA.

Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) visited Taoyuan airport this morning to inspect border protection efforts against African swine fever and to see first-hand Lunar New Year preparations.

The Lunar New Year period from Feb. 2 to Feb. 10 will see an increased average of 800 flights per day at Taoyuan airport. The airport authority said last week that during this period, an average flight delay of one hour should be expected, with some flights potentially delayed for as long as four hours.

The upcoming busy period compounds concerns surrounding African swine fever, which has reached epidemic proportions in China. Risk of the virus spreading throughout Taiwan’s pig industry has led to greater restrictions on imported pork products, information campaigns, strengthened customs checks, and an increased fine for those caught smuggling.

Hundreds of people have been fined for attempting to bring contraband meat products into Taiwan since October 2018.

Hsu said that the government has bought a number of new x-ray machines, which will be installed to inspect inbound hand luggage as soon as possible. He added that the installation will comply with international standards.

Hsu went on to say that the Ministry of the Interior has requested an additional 90 aviation police officers to man the new x-ray machines and to support efforts against African swine fever.

The National Immigration Agency said they have developed and implemented a plan to ensure traffic at airports is as efficient as possible, in a press release published yesterday.