The Hsinchu office of Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Photo: Google Maps

A total of 17 passengers were fined for trying to bring meat products into Taiwan in the three days after the authorities increased fines by a factor of 20 in an attempt to stop the spread of the highly contagious African swine fever.

In response to the proliferation of African Swine Fever across China since early October, Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture, starting from December 14, increased the fines for travelers caught smuggling pork products from infected regions. Under the new regulation, fines of NT$50,000 (US$1,622) will be imposed upon first-time offenders, NT$500,000 upon second-time offenders, and NT$1 million for repeat offenders, the United Daily News reported.

Passengers who bring in livestock or poultry and other products from areas affected by foot and mouth disease or avian influenza will also face a fine of NT$30,000 for first-time offenders, NT$300,000 for second-time offenders, and NT$3 million for repeat offenders.

According to the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ), between December 14 and 16, there were a total of 17 cases of passengers caught smuggling meat into the country. Thirteen were Taiwanese, two were Chinese, one was Thai, and one was Indonesian.

By types, seized meat products included pork sausages, pork jerky from China, pork from Vietnam, various poultry products and one count of dog and cat food.