Taipei-Taiwan's government has fined inbound travelers roughly US$4.5 million for bringing in pork products from countries with African swine fever outbreaks since stiffer fines were established for the offense in late 2018.
As of Sunday, a total of 678 people had been fined the newly set amount of NT$200,000 (US$6,648) since the new penalty was introduced on Dec. 18, 2018 for violating the ban on pork items from ASF-affected countries, ASF Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) figures showed.
The pork products mainly came from mainland China (589 cases), Vietnam (56 cases), South Korea (21 cases) and the Philippines (12 cases), according to the center.
Of the 678 violators, 354 were Chinese passengers and 233 were Taiwanese. Most of them were caught bringing pork items into Taiwan from China.
Among the other fined were 32 Vietnamese, 12 Koreans and 11 Filipinos.
ASF outbreaks in Asia have shown no signs of abating and to date 11 Asian countries or territories have reported outbreaks since August 2018 when ASF was first identified in Asia, including China, Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia, the CEOC said.
Between Aug. 27, 2018 and Jan. 2, 2020, 216 of a total of 2,844 samples of pork products that were illegally brought into Taiwan and dumped tested positive for ASF. A total of 167 were from China and 49 were from Vietnam.
First-time offenders illegally importing meat products into Taiwan from areas affected by ASF within the past three years are fined NT$200,000, with the penalty increasing to NT$1 million for repeat offenders, the center warned.
Fines are imposed even for bringing simple snack items such as pork jerky into Taiwan.
First-time foreign offenders who fail to pay the fine can be denied entry into the country, according to the center, which did not say how much in fines was actually collected.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel