China clamps down on pig price manipulation after ASF scam rumours

12 Jul 2019 | Johnny Huang

The Chinese government has warned that criminal gangs are attempting to profit from the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak and have vowed to prosecute anyone found spreading false rumours of outbreaks of the disease in an attempt to extort money from local farmers.

“Recently, a group of professional ‘pig [price] manipulating’ gangs have abandoned dead hogs at farms and then bargain the pig price drastically lower at those farms by creating and spreading the rumour of ASF outbreaks,” the Chinese ministry of agriculture and rural affairs (MARA) said on Friday.

It said such actions have severely disrupted the recovery of China’s live pig industry from the ASF outbreak and also violates farmers’ legal rights.

Therefore, the ministry urged that cases will be “strictly dealt with in accordance with rules and regulations” and will be transferred to the police if “found criminal”.

However, the ministry did not disclose any details on the gangs alleged to have conducted such actions.

China has reported more than 130 outbreaks of ASF across all the country's provinces, sparking fears among pig farmers that their herd could be culled under the government’s mandatory measure if they are found to be harbouring an outbreak.