Foreign nationals who fail to pay pork fine to be denied entry to Taiwan

Travelers caught with pork products who are unable to pay the US$6,472 fine will be denied entry to Taiwan

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COA deputy chief Huang Chin-Cheng (黃金城)

COA deputy chief Huang Chin-Cheng (黃金城) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- Starting Friday, foreign nationals who fail to pay a fine of NT$200,000 (US$6,472) for attempting to bring pork products into the country from African swine fever (ASF) affected areas will be denied entry, a Council of Agriculture (COA) official said Thursday.

During a press conference organized by the government's ASF disaster response center, COA deputy chief Huang Chin-Cheng (黃金城) said starting Friday if a foreign national is fined he or she must pay the fine in full or be denied entry to Taiwan.

The earlier measure only denied entry to foreign nationals returning to Taiwan without having paid a fine incurred on their previous trip.

To prevent African swine fever from reaching Taiwan, the government on Dec. 18, 2018 increased the fines for bringing in pork products from countries with ASF outbreaks, with first offenders liable to a fine of NT$200,000 and repeat offenders NT$1 million.

As of Jan. 23, 71 people had been fined NT$200,000 for violating the ban, according to data from the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ).

Meanwhile, the ASF disaster response center called for passengers not to bring Chinese pork products into the country after new cases of ASF infected products were recently discovered.

A total of 18 pork products passengers attempted to bring into the country have tested positive for ASF since Oct. 31, 2018, all from China, according to BAPHIQ data.

Since the first confirmed case of ASF was reported in China's Liaoning Province last August, Taiwan has been on high alert, concerned that the spread of the virus from China could devastate the country's NT$80 billion-a-year (US$2.59 billion) pig farming industry.

Though it does not affect humans, the virus is deadly to pigs and there is no known vaccine or cure.