Cabinet approves amendment on tougher fines for meat smuggling

Taipei, A draft amendment to the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease that imposes tougher fines on people caught smuggling meat products into the country has been approved by the Executive Yuan, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) said Monday.

In the wake of an increase in the number of travelers illegally bringing meat products from overseas into Taiwan, the maximum fine is to be raised from NT$15,000 (US$488) to NT$300,000, according to BAPHIQ.

Hopefully, this will have a greater deterrent effect on people, the bureau explained.

The proposed amendment came amid growing concern over outbreaks of highly contagious African swine fever (ASF), which is deadly to pigs.

The virus has been spreading rapidly across China since the country reported its first outbreak Aug. 3.

The bureau, which is under the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA), said the swine disease has since reached 14 provinces, cities and districts in China.

From Oct. 18 to Nov. 4, a total of 122 cases involving smuggled meat products were reported by customs officers in Taiwan, of which 71 were from China, according to BAPHIQ statistics.

Others included 34 from Vietnam, six from the Philippines, four from South Korea, two each from Thailand and Myanmar, and one each from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Following the Cabinet's approval Monday, the draft amendment will now be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for approval, the BAPHIQ said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel