11th February 2024 – (Taipei) In a recent incident, a woman surnamed Yang, in her late 50s, submitted an appeal letter to the New Taipei Branch, Administrative Enforcement Agency, Ministry of Justice. The letter detailed how her younger daughter, who suffers from panic disorder, accompanied her family on a three-day trip to Hong Kong Disneyland during the summer vacation in July 2023 as a means to alleviate stress.
On 16th July last year, as the family was waiting at Hong Kong Airport to return to Taiwan, the younger daughter suddenly complained of hunger. Mrs. Yang purchased two rolls of rice from a Korean restaurant at the airport. She intended to give one roll to her daughter to satisfy her hunger and bring the other one back to Taiwan for her hardworking son-in-law.
Retired teacher Mrs. Yang claimed that she always abides by the law and is well aware of Taiwan’s rigorous measures to prevent African swine fever. Therefore, she carefully examined the ingredients of the rice rolls and found only fresh seaweed and pickled vegetables, which gave her the confidence to make the purchase. To her surprise, upon their arrival in Taiwan, the quarantine dogs detected the scent of meat, and it was then that she discovered the rice rolls contained inconspicuous pieces of light red meat. Instead of relieving stress, the trip abroad ended up causing more anxiety for her daughter and leading to immense distress for the entire family.
Mrs. Yang’s appeal was rejected, but she agreed to pay the fine in monthly instalments of TWD 10,000 (approximately HK$2,500). Considering her retirement and limited income, the New Taipei City Branch of the Ministry of Justice Administrative Agency agreed to her request for instalment payments.
The New Taipei Branch, Administrative Enforcement Agency, Ministry of Justice emphasised that the African swine fever outbreak has not been eradicated and any negligence could result in a breach that would affect Taiwan’s economy and public health. It is crucial for everyone to strengthen their vigilance against the disease. The agency urged travellers entering Taiwan from overseas to ensure that the food they bring does not fall under the category of quarantine products to avoid penalties.
According to data from Animal and Plant Health Inspection Agency in Taiwan, passengers who violate regulations by bringing pork products into Taiwan are subject to a fine of TWD 200,000 (approximately HK$51,000) for the first offence and TWD 1,000,000 (approximately HK$255,000) for the second offence.