Qld man jailed over illegal Korean food imports

Beef Central, 30/11/2012

A Queensland man was sentenced in the Brisbane District Court on Friday to two years and 11 months jail with a non parole period of six months for illegal importation of food from Korea.

A company, which the man was a director of, was also convicted and fined $60,000.

The man and his company pleaded guilty to six offences of illegally importing meat products into Australia in 2010, totalling over 14 tonnes of product.

A biosecurity officer detected illegally imported frozen pork in December 2010 following an audit conducted in Brisbane.

The man and the company were charged with aggravated illegal importation offences under the Quarantine Act 1908 .

This is the second completed prosecution of the national ‘Operation Hayride’ compliance operation, initiated by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) which uncovered widespread and deliberate importation and distribution of prohibited food.

Investigations under Hayride are ongoing and are expected to lead to further prosecutions Australia wide.

First Assistant Secretary of DAFF’s Border Compliance Division, Tim Chapman, said DAFF treated incidents such as this seriously, as illegal imports pose unacceptable risk to Australia’s livestock industries and trade.

“The goods that were illegally imported were a very high risk to Australia as Korea has recently experienced an outbreak of foot and mouth disease,” Mr Chapman said.

“Australia’s enjoys freedom from many harmful pests and diseases that occur in other parts of the world. Our biosecurity system works to manage the risk of extremely harmful diseases such as foot and mouth disease.”

“The sentence illustrates that there is little tolerance for those who intentionally breach these laws and reflects the serious nature of the offence.”

Under the Quarantine Act illegal importation of prohibited goods can result in jail terms of up to 10 years and fines of $66,000 for individuals. In cases of aggravated illegal importation a fine of up to $1.1 million may be imposed on a company.

Anyone who witnesses suspicious behaviour or comes across any goods they believe to have been illegally imported can contact the Biosecurity Redline anonymously on 1800 803 006.


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