Tourists who are travelling to Taiwan, do take note not to bring any meat products into the country! In case you aren’t aware, Taiwan has tightened their rules and regulations regarding banned items and these include snacks or food containing meat such as chicken, lamb, beef and pork.
Recently, a reader who wished to remain anonymous shared with us his experience of getting fined NT$30,000 (RM4,040) when he accidentally brought two pieces of onigiri containing chicken into Taiwan. Tan (not his real name) said that he was travelling to Kaohsiung with three other friends on 8th May, and before boarding, they bought two chicken onigiri and two fish onigiri to be eaten on the plane.
However, they totally forgot about the snacks once they were safely onboard the plane and when they arrived at the airport, they proceeded to the ‘Nothing to Declare’ lane at customs. To their surprise, Tan was stopped and his bag taken for inspection by the customs officers, who found the onigiri inside and told him that meat products were strictly forbidden to be brought into the country.
The customs officer said that he would have to pay a fine of NT$30,000 (RM4,040) for violating the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Diseases, and Tan was told that he was lucky it was not made of pork as it would carry an even heavier fine, up to NT$1 million (RM134,133). Fortunately, the two pieces of fish onigiri were not banned and after careful negotiation with the officers, Tan and his friends settled the fine on the spot.
It is understood that Taiwan has tightened the rules and regulations to prevent an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease and African Swine Fever. This ban includes fresh fruits and vegetables as well. The customs officer also said that multiple warnings were posted around the airport before the customs lane as well as announcements made onboard the plane. However, Tan said that they forgot that they had the onigiri, so they didn’t realise until it was too late and their flight did not have the announcement. The leaflet they received upon passing immigration only mentioned pork products.
Tan also told WORLD OF BUZZ that he learned a very valuable (and expensive) lesson and would like to warn other travellers to make sure that they check their bags properly before going through customs. He is also not the only one who has gotten fined before as there have been others as well.
Do take note of the rules and regulations when you’re travelling to other countries!