One of China's largest animal feed producers uses radio transmitters to stop drones that crooks use to spread African swine fever on their farms. But when the device blocked the navigation system of the overhead plane, the plan went wrong.
Criminals are accused of counterfeiting swine fever on the farm and throwing them pork products contaminated by drones to take advantage of the health crisis. The goal is to force farmers to sell animals cheaply and then resell them as healthy stocks at a much higher price.
African swine fever is harmless to humans, but deadly to pigs. In China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork, the pig herd decreased by 40% last year due to the crisis. In turn, this has pushed up pork prices, which is one of the factors contributing to the country’s recent rapid inflation growth.
The state-run news website reported last week that a pig-raising unit under Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group violated civil aviation regulations when it installed a transmitter to protect the farm and interfered with GPS signals in the area.
It was only discovered after the flight complained that they lost signal while flying in the area.
The company confirmed the incident on Friday. The company said: "In order to prevent outsiders from using drones to cut off pork with the African swine fever virus, [one of our departments] violated the regulations by using signal jammer."
It said: "We inadvertently violated relevant radio regulations," adding that the equipment has been handed over to the authorities and is ready to accept a fine.
The authorities called for action against illegal suppliers of such equipment, stating that it can only be used by public safety agencies, national security agencies and radio inspectors.