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May 28, 2017

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Authorities remind airport passengers of banned items

KAOHSIUNG--Quarantine authorities organized a promotional campaign at Kaohsiung International Airport yesterday to remind passengers of what items they are banned from bringing into Taiwan after international travel.

Under existing quarantine regulations, arrival passengers are not allowed to bring meat products and fresh fruits into Taiwan.

But many passengers seem to ignore or remain unaware of this rule.

Chen Hung-po, deputy chief of the quarantine agency in Kaohsiung, said some Taiwanese travelers from China had been detected trying to smuggle in roast Peking duck and hams packed into their luggage. His agents, with the use of sniffer dogs, have also found travelers from Vietnam carrying fresh fruits.

Chen hosted the event with a team of "quarantine ambassadors" made of bureau officials and a lively beagle, who works as a professional quarantine detector.

The ambassadors took the initiative to make contact with arrival passengers yesterday, inviting them to fill out a questionnaire of Taiwan's existing quarantine measures to win a small gift from the bureau.

The campaign drew warm participation thanks to the soft touch of an excited beagle.

Chen said they currently have seven detector dogs on duty at the airport. Their workload, however, has increased over the past years since the opening of air routes between the southern Taiwan port city and mainland China destinations.

In 2010, the number of passengers exiting and entering Taiwan at Kaohsiung's airport reached 2.93 million, up from 2.59 million a year ago, Chen said. Because of the increased inflow of travelers from overseas, they have also seen an increase in the quantity of banned goods.

Those caught with banned items could face a fine of at least NT$3,000 (US$103). The banned items will also be confiscated by authorities.

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