A Taiwanese woman was intercepted entering the country from China via Kinmen today with 24 live gerbils wrapped in stockings and taped to her lower legs.
Customs and Quarantine, along with Coast Guard officers, are currently vigorously inspecting people entering Taiwan via the “three links” in Kinmen County, in an attempt to prevent African Swine Flu spreading from China to Taiwan.
Officers at the Shuitou Customs Clearance Center spotted a middle-aged woman with an unusual body-shape, acting suspiciously, and walking with a strange gait this morning. Upon inspection it was found that the woman had 24 gerbils taped to her lower legs.
Despite the high-profile and well-publicized inspections, the 61-year-old Taoyuan resident, Ms Wu, had been hired to smuggle the animals into Taiwan with a promise of RMB60 (NT$273) per animal, according to Wu’s testimony.
According to reports in Liberty Times, China Times, United Daily News, and Apple Daily, the market price for male gerbils is around NT$500 each, while a female can fetch around NT$1,000.
According to the Coast Guard, Ms Wu was not carrying a large number of gerbils, but it may be a case of an advance force testing the waters.
After an interrogation, Ms Wu was handed over to the District Prosecutor’s Office to be charged with offences violating the Animal Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control Regulations.
The gerbils were tested for disease and euthanized.
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