Taiwan hikes fines for bringing pork products from Malaysia over ASF fears

02/24/2021 11:05 PM
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Enhanced border control measures against African swine fever (ASF) at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. CNA file photo
Enhanced border control measures against African swine fever (ASF) at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) Travelers arriving in Taiwan with pork products from Malaysia risk an increased fine of NT$200,000 (US$7,178), as a new outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) has been reported in the Southeast Asian country, authorities said Wednesday.

The fine has been hiked from NT$30,000, based on Malaysia's reports that recent deaths among its bearded pig population in the jungles of Pitas were caused by ASF, which led to the culling of pigs in the wild and on farms within a 50 kilometer radius of the affected area, according to Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) for African swine fever.

With immediate effect, arriving passengers caught carrying pork products from Malaysia will be fined NT$200,000 in the first instance, and repeat violators will be fined NT$1,000,000, the CEOC said.

Travelers who fail to pay the fine will be referred to the National Immigration Agency or denied entry to Taiwan, the center said.

Malaysia has been listed a high-risk country for ASF since Sept. 6, 2019, and people arriving at Taiwan airports and seaports from the Southeast Asian country are subject to hand luggage checks.

Prior to Wednesday, the fines for bringing in pork products from Malaysia were NT$30,000 for first-time violators, NT$300,000 for second-time violators and NT$1 million for those who flouted the rules three times or more.

Taiwan has been on high alert against ASF out of concern that the virus could 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.

(By Yang Su-min and Evelyn Kao)

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