Taiwanese Cathay Pacific Employee In Hot Water After Cooking Passengers Twenty Crabs To Circumvent Customs

A Cathay Pacific employee in Taipei went the extra mile for a customer and could see himself reprimanded by the company after providing some rather unconventional service.


A passenger had live hairy crabs with him which are not allowed for import in Taiwan. The CX employee then helped the passenger out by cooking them, making the crabs eligible for import.

After the passenger got into an argument with customs about the eligibility of his seafood to be taken into the country he consulted a Cathay Pacific employee at the airport who then managed to cook these crabs during a one hour exercise as cooked seafood is apparently fine to be imported.

I found this story over at Shanghaiist (see here) which is always a source of informative and humorous news.

… A passenger returning home to Taiwan had a problem, namely a box full of 20 live hairy crabs from Hong Kong that he couldn’t get through customs at Taipei’s Taoyuan airport. Officers told him that it was simply impossible to bring raw seafood onto the island.

But cooked seafood, now that was a different story.

So, the man went off to find someone to help him with his live crab problem, confronting a Cathay Pacific ground crew member and asking for his assistance. The man happened to be a “diamond” card holder in Cathay’s Marco Polo Club, the highest possible tier. The worker said he’d help.

Completely ignoring proper immigration channels, the employee escorted the traveler to the airline’s VIP lounge on the departure floor and asked them to cook up the crabs.

However, they didn’t have the capabilities, so the worker was left to wander the airport for other answers. Eventually, they came upon a restaurant inside the airport that the man frequented. The cooks agreed to help… before seeing the number of crabs to be cooked. But eventually, they relented and manged to cook all 20 crabs in an hour.

The man returned to customs and was allowed to leave with his box full of still-hot crabs.

The strange tale was leaked by fellow passengers to Apple Daily (access here in Chinese). After it was printed police launched an investigation into the incident and the over-eager employee faces disciplinary actions from Cathay Pacific.

This is hilarious! Cathay Pacific service at Taipei is actually pretty good, but this goes above and beyond of what is the norm for an airline to provide, especially since he took the passenger up to the departure levels Lounge, which is behind immigration control. Since he already entered Taiwan before the baggage collection area, I wonder how they even got that far, probably using a staff bypass door.


This would be an interesting new Marco Polo Diamond perk… customs assistance for live seafood. Maybe had he brought a lobster they could have cooked him a nice Lobster Thermidor.

In all seriousness I’m surprised that the customs staff didn’t question the sudden reappearance of these crabs in cooked condition and followed up on how it actually came to that. It took a media report for someone at the customs department to have a bell going off. Go figure…