TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A Vietnamese passenger was denied entry at the airport on Feb. 27 after being caught trying to bringing pork products into the country but failing to pay a NT$200,000 fine.
The woman, 56, flew to Taiwan to visit relatives with a souvenir of two rice dumplings, or zongzi, filled with nuggets of pork. The offender was denied entry after she claimed that she was unable to pay the fine at Customs, and left Taiwan later in the day.
The Vietnamese rice dumpling is usually two or three times larger than Taiwan's.
Following China and Mongolia, Vietnam became the third country in Asia to be hit by African Swine Fever (ASF) in February. The disease is highly contagious and fatal to pigs. More new ASF cases were reported in late February in Chinese provinces including Guangxi, which borders Vietnam to the north, Yunnan, Hebei, and inner Mongolia.
African swine fever has been detected on three farms in Vietnam, Reuters reports. Vietnamese authorities confirmed the infections and said that all pigs on the farms have been culled.
The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) indicated that 127 violations have been reported since the penalty for first-time offenders was lifted to NT$200,000 late last year, of which 126 came from flights from China and one from Vietnam.
African swine fever cannot harm humans but is deadly to pigs, and there is currently no cure. The reason why the disease is so hard to eliminate is that the virus is remarkably adaptable and can survive extreme conditions. Research from Iowa State University indicates that while it lives for up to a month in contaminated pens, it remains infectious in stored meat for up to 150 days, and several years in frozen carcasses.
Despite worry following a report of several ASF-infected hog carcasses washing ashore from China to a beach in Taiwan's offshore Kinmen County, both Kinmen and the main island of Taiwan have not reported any cases of infection.