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African swine flu border inspections tightened in Taiwan

Signs at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport warn passengers of the NT$1 million maximum fine for illegally bringing meat products into the country. (CNA)

Signs at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport warn passengers of the NT$1 million maximum fine for illegally bringing meat products into the country. (CNA)

Taiwan’s African swine flu border inspections have been expanded to include X-rays of hand luggage for visitors from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, according to the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture.
 
Those found violating animal product import regulations flying from Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia will be fined NT$30,000 (US$960), while the penalty is NT$10,000 for Singapore.
 
The latest move, which took effect Sept. 6, is an extension of checks already in place for passengers coming from 12 high-risk ASF countries and territories: China, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Myanmar, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
 
Other government measures to halt the spread of ASF include warning signs at passport control counters, in-flight reminders for passengers from affected areas, sniffer dogs patrolling at airports and scans of all checked luggage passing through customs.
 
As the Mid-Autumn Festival approaches, the COA said, travelers should ensure any moon cakes—a traditional food item eaten at this time of year—do not contain meat products. Six violations involving the snacks were recorded in the first four days of September, according to the council.
 
The government is leaving no stone unturned in preventing ASF reaching Taiwan, imposing strict penalties on illegal meat product imports ranging from NT$200,000 for first-time offenders through to NT$1 million. A total of 21 items carrying the disease were intercepted from Aug. 1 to Sept. 5, according to the COA. (YCH-E)