Fines issued for smuggled meat from China amid swine flu scare

2018/09/10 22:50:41 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
File photo

File photo

Taipei, Sept. 10 (CNA) Passengers who were caught trying to carry meat products into Taiwan from China through customs were consequently fined while another has been charged by prosecutors for using air parcel service to deliver Chinese sausages into the country, the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA) said on Monday.

The penalties were issued amid growing concerns over a highly contagious and deadly virus that causes African swine fever (ASF). The virus has been spreading rapidly across China after the country reported its first outbreak on Aug. 3.

Taiwan has since been strengthening quarantine controls at its borders and implementing cross-department cooperation to effectively prevent the ASF virus from entering the country.

Between Sept. 1-9, 18 items were seized from the check-in baggage of passengers, said Shih Tai-hua (施泰華), deputy director-general of the COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ).

They were found in the form of ham sausages, zong zi (glutinous rice dumplings), and Chinese steamed buns.

A NT$3,000 (US$97.26) fine has been levied on each item, instead of the NT$15,000 maximum penalty because they were not raw meat products, Shih said.

Also during the same period, a person was caught trying to bring in Chinese sausages via parcel service, which constituted as smuggling, he said.

If found guilty, that person could face imprisonment of up to seven years, the COA official said.

Of the total of 62 items seized from passengers since August, 51 were sent to be tested for the swine virus, Shih said.

So far, 22 of the returned samples have tested negative, he added.

(By Yang Su-min and Ko Lin)
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