Biosecurity breaches have led to a suspended jail sentence and heavy fines for a company and one of its directors following prosecutions through the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s (DAFF) Operation Hayride.
Yoo Young (Jack) Kim, the company director of CA National Services Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty to having dealt with illegally imported meat and dairy products from Korea.
These goods posed high biosecurity risks as Korea was experiencing outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and avian influenza at the time.
The director was convicted and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment in the Brisbane District Court. The sentence was wholly suspended after the Defendant entered into a $500 three year good behaviour bond. The company also pleaded guilty and was convicted and fined $15,000. The convictions came under section 70C(3) of the Quarantine Act 1908.
Wayne Terpstra, Assistant Secretary, Industry Arrangements and Performance for DAFF said the prosecution reflected the serious penalties industry and individuals face if they intentionally breach Australian biosecurity laws.
“The tough sentence reflects the serious nature of the crime,” Mr Terpstra said.
“Australia’s biosecurity system helps to manage the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia. There is no tolerance for importers who deliberately break the law.
“Australia’s strict biosecurity laws protect our agricultural industries, prevent diseases and protect our unique environment.”
Under the Act persons convicted of illegal importation face up to 10 years jail. In cases of commercial importation a fine of up to $1.1 million per offence can also apply.
Operation Hayride was an investigation and compliance operation which targeted deliberate and serious breaches of the Quarantine Act. It was initiated after DAFF uncovered evidence of the deliberate importation and distribution of prohibited foods during a routine import inspection in December 2010.
During Hayride, DAFF inspected 225 targeted import consignments and inspected more than 300 retail premises. The operation yielded an estimated 132 tonnes of prohibited goods including meat and dairy products.
Investigations under the operation are ongoing and are expected to lead to further prosecutions including six cases currently before the courts.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry