N95 surgical masks seized by Coast Guard in smuggling attempt

Taiwan government imposed a month-long ban on exports of face masks until Feb. 23. (CNA)
Taiwan government imposed a month-long ban on exports of face masks until Feb. 23. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) on Wednesday sized more than 70,000 N95 surgical masks from a Penghu-registered fishing boat that was apparently preparing to export them, despite a government ban on face mask exports.

Amid concerns over the novel coronavirus epidemic that broke out in Wuhan, capital of China’s Hubei Province, the government imposed the month-long ban until Feb. 23.

In a statement, the CGA said that when the agency carried out an inspection in offshore Penghu County, officers found 71,000 of the masks.

Cheng Wen-hao (鄭文豪), deputy director of the CGA’s 7th division, said the CGA was continuing to investigate the case.

The government has imposed restrictions on the number of mask exports from Taiwan in a bid to ensure a sufficient supply in the local market amid the Wuhan virus scare. The restrictions started Jan. 24.

Violators will face confiscation of their masks and a fine of up to three times the value of the items.

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