Taipei- A Chinese tourist who was caught Saturday attempting to bring pork jerky and other meat products into Taiwan paid a heavy fine to avoid being denied entry into the country, quarantine authorities said.
The Chinese visitor surnamed Zhou, who was traveling with four of his family members from Shanghai to Taiwan, attempted to bring in pork jerky and fish sausages into Taiwan when they arrived at Taoyuan International Airport around Saturday at noon.
Under new rules imposed to keep African swine fever (ASF) out of Taiwan that took effect Friday, foreign visitors caught bringing pork products into Taiwan are to be denied entry if they fail to pay a fine of NT$200,000 (US$6,494).
Zhou was the first foreign national to pay a fine to enter Taiwan since the more restrictive rules were implemented Friday.
The heavy fine reflects the deep concern among authorities in Taiwan that the outbreak of ASF in China could spread to Taiwan and Kinmen, which is less than 10 kilometers east of the Chinese city of Xiamen.
ASF is lethal to pigs, and the government is worried that if it makes its way into Taiwan it could destroy the country's NT$80 billion-a-year pig farming industry.
An official with the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) said the Chinese visitor and his family members appeared astonished when Zhou was assessed such a big fine, but they decided to pay the fine to enter Taiwan after careful consideration.
Because they did not have enough cash to pay the fine, they used Ali Pay, a third party payment system in China, to transfer funds to a car rental company in Taiwan.
They then retrieved the funds from the car rental firm to pay the fine through a branch of Bank of Taiwan at the airport.
The payment process took the Zhou family more than two hours before they were allowed to leave the airport and enter Taiwan.
Also on Saturday, a man holding a ROC passport was also fined NT$200,000 after being caught attempting to bring pork sausages into Taiwan from Hong Kong, according to Customs.
The man said the sausages were placed in a box by his brother as a souvenir when he was in Hong Kong, and he was unaware of what was inside.
The man was allowed to pay the fine in installments but will have to complete the payments within one month.
On Friday, a Chinese passenger was denied entry after he was unable to pay a NT$200,000 fine for bringing pork products into Taiwan from Hong Kong. He was the first foreign national denied entry into Taiwan due to a failure to pay the fine.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel