Taipei, Sept. 4 (CNA) Two passengers arriving at Taiwan's main airport on Wednesday were each fined NT$200,000 (US$6,311) for attempting to enter the country with food items that contained pork, Taipei Customs said.
One passenger was carrying mooncakes from his country China, while the other was returning home from Hong Kong with pork sausages, Customs said.
With the approach of the Mid-Autumn Festival, an increasing number of passengers have been trying to bring in pork-filled mooncakes, a pastry that is usually eaten at this time of year, Customs said.
The fine of NT$200,000 on the Chinese passenger Wednesday was the latest in a string of fines imposed since Sept. 1 for bringing in mooncakes with pork fillings, as part of Taiwan's efforts to prevent the entry of African swine fever (ASF), Customs said.
Visitors from ASF-affected and high risk countries/areas who attempt to bring pork products into Taiwan are subject to a fine of NT$200,000 if they are first-time offenders, while repeat offenders face a fine of NT$1 million, according to Taiwan's regulations.
Since the first ASF outbreak in China was reported in August 2018, Taiwan has intensified border inspections of meat products for fear that entry of the ASF virus would cripple its high-value pig farming industry.
ASF is a deadly disease that threatens pig populations as it cannot be cured and there is no vaccine against it. However, it is not harmful to humans.