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Passenger fined NT$200,000 for bringing pork jerky into Taiwan

2018/12/18 14:42:31

Photo courtesy of Taipei Customs

Taipei, Dec. 18 (CNA) A woman returning to Taiwan from a visit to China was fined NT$200,000 (US$6,490) on Tuesday after being caught bringing pork jerky into the country, according to Taipei Customs officers.

The 50-year-old woman was caught carrying 15 packs of pork jerky weighing a total of 200 grams in her luggage as she arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport from Fuzhou, officers said.

She became the first passenger to be fined NT$200,000 for smuggling meat products into Taiwan after the Council of Agriculture (COA) announced a day earlier higher fines for the offense to prevent African swine fever (ASF) from spreading inside the country.

The woman, a Taoyuan resident, spent around 20 Chinese yuan (US$2.90) to purchase the 15 packs of pork jerky in China while visiting relatives there.

Customs officers said the woman did not declare her pork jerky and tried to go through the expedited customs clearance lane before she was caught.

Despite announcements on the plane and signs at the airport, the woman said she was unaware of the new regulations and was astonished to learn that pork jerky was banned from entering Taiwan.

"I didn't know that vacuum-packed pork jerky would be a problem," she said.

The COA on Monday raised fines for meat smuggling from NT$50,000 to NT$200,000 for first-time offenders and from NT$500,000 to NT$1 million for repeat offenders to better protect Taiwan's pig farming sector from the ASF threat. The new fines took effect Tuesday.

The higher fines apply to people smuggling meat into Taiwan from areas affected by the ASF virus over the past three years, including China, Hong Kong, Macau, Russia and some European countries.

(By Chiu Chun-chin and Christie Chen)