TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – To stop the possible spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus, starting in June, the South Korean government will begin imposing strict fines for any travelers caught bringing meat products into the country, with enhanced penalties for meat products from ASF infected regions.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) made an announcement on May 21 to warn Taiwanese travelers planning to visit Korea about the risks of traveling while carrying meat products. According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA), if a traveler is stopped by Korean customs agents and found to be carrying a pork product from an ASF infected country, they will face a fine of KRW5 million (TW$123,400 or US$3,900).
The second and third violations will result in fines of KRW7.5 million (TW$185,100 or US$5,900) and KRW10 million (TW$246,800 or US$7,800), respectively. Persons carrying meat products from non-infected regions may also be fiend to a lesser degree. Prior to the new penalties, being introduced, the first violation for contraband meat products was KRW1 million, while the second and third violations were KRW2 million and KRW3 million respectively.
Authorities in Japan have also recently implemented strict customs fines to prevent the spread of ASF. Since April 22, travelers caught bringing contraband meat products into Japan will face a fine of JPY1 million (NT$280,000 or US$9,000), and depending on the severity of the offense may also face jail time not to exceed three years, reports Liberty Times.
The director-general of BOCA, Christine Tsai (蔡幼文), warned travelers to be aware of the risks and penalties associated with carrying contraband products to other countries, to cooperate with customs authorities in neighboring countries and to recognize the dangers that ASF poses to the region.
Countries currently experiencing ASF events, according to the World Animal Health Information Database are shown on the map below.