RM29,500 for roast pork lunchbox: Taiwan fines Indonesian passenger from Hong Kong for bringing in banned meat


The food included rice with roast pork and soy sauce chicken, both typical Cantonese dishes. - Photo: Handout / SCMP

HONG KONG (SCMP): An Indonesian passenger travelling from Hong Kong to Taiwan has been deported after being unable to pay a NT$200,000 (HK$48,430 - RM29,500) fine for bringing in a lunchbox with roast pork, contravening import regulations, local media has reported.

The traveller arrived in Taipei on April 30 with the lunchbox containing a combination of Cantonese-style roast meats, news outlets reported on Sunday.

From a picture posted online, the food included rice with roast pork and soy sauce chicken, both typical Cantonese dishes.

A customs detector dog sniffed out the contraband and alerted its handlers. The visitor was fined NT$200,000 on the spot for the undeclared pork.

But the individual was unable to pay the penalty immediately and was deported and instructed to settle the fine before entering Taiwan again, the media reports said.

Taiwanese authorities have imposed strict controls on the import of pork from areas where cases of African swine fever have been detected since 2018.

The fine for a first offence is NT$200,000, increasing to NT$1 million for subsequent transgressions.

An official from Taiwan’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Agency told local media that passengers could throw out any banned items they had mistakenly brought in using disposal bins before immigration control.

“You can dispose of them there or declare them at our animal and plant quarantine counters,” the official said. “Whether you choose to declare them voluntarily or dispose of them, there will be no criminal liability involved.”

Photographs of the meal posted online show it included roast pork and chicken on a bed of rice. - PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM APHIA.TW/FACEBOOKPhotographs of the meal posted online show it included roast pork and chicken on a bed of rice. - PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM APHIA.TW/FACEBOOK

Note: But there will be no penalties if the banned items are discarded before passengers go through immigration control, he said.

According to the Taipei Customs website, most meat products made from land animals must be declared for quarantine inspections.

This is to prevent outbreak of African swine fever and other diseases.

Arriving travellers who fail to declare such products can be fined between NT$10,000 and NT$1 million. - South China Morning Post

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