A Taiwanese tourist to Hong Kong has been fined the equivalent of around HK$50,000 after he returned to Taiwan with a pack of “chicken biscuits.” The biscuits – sometimes called “Phoenix bites” – are a Guangdong snack containing no chicken. They are in fact made with pork.

Taiwan has been banning food with pork ingredients – including raw meat, cooked meat, processed meat, among others – from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. The move follows an outbreak of African swine fever in 23 areas on the mainland that started in August last year.

“Chicken biscuits” brought by a Taiwanese tourist from Hong Kong to Taoyuan airport. Photo: Taipei customs.

The Taiwanese tourist, surnamed Huang, took a pack of “chicken biscuits” weighing 0.8 kilograms to Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport via an EVA Air flight around midnight on Wednesday, as reported in Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

Customs officers found pork ingredients while inspecting the biscuits, and fined Huang NT$200,000 (HK$50,951), under the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease.

Another mainland Chinese tourist surnamed Huang arrived at Taoyuan on a Xiamen Airlines flight from Xiamen on Wednesday morning carrying 935.5 grams of pork sausages and 1.2465 kilogram of mixed chicken and pork ham sausages. The Chinese tourist was also fined with NT$200,000.

Taipei customs said the two tourists went through the green channel without declaring the items.

A map of mainland China’s African swine fever cases produced by Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture of the Executive Yuan. Photo: Screenshot.

Last month, Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture of the Executive Yuan upped the fine on importing pork products from places exposed to African swine flu. First offenders will be fined NT$200,000, and second-time offenders will be fined NT$1 million (HK$254,758).

The announcement on Taipei customs’ website. Photo: Screenshot.

On Tuesday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said Beijing was unwilling to cooperate on the African swine fever issue, as the Chinese government had not been keeping Taiwan informed on the issue.

“If we cannot wholeheartedly cooperate on prevention of disease, how could we possibly be one family?” She said.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.