The Director of ISS Import Trading Pty Ltd received a suspended 16 month prison sentence at the Victorian County Court in Melbourne last week for knowingly importing prohibited meat from South East Asia.
Director of ISS, Kevin Yi, admitted to aggravated illegal importation under the Quarantine Act 1908, intentionally mis-declaring meat products as ‘vegetables’ in an effort to bypass Australia’s biosecurity system bringing in high risk animal products from South Korea.
The Department of Agriculture’s First Assistant Secretary of Compliance, Raelene Vivian, said meat and animal products from South Korea were not allowed to be imported into Australia.
“Meat-based goods from South Korea such as pig, beef and chicken are considered to pose too high a risk to allow importation, due to a range of animal disease concerns—for instance South Korea recorded outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and avian influenza in 2010,” Ms Vivian said.
“Research by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), indicates the cost of an FMD outbreak in Australia would be more than $52 billion to our economy over the course of 10 years.
“Evidence also shows the most probable cause of FMD outbreaks across the world are through illegally imported meat or meat products being fed to pigs.
“It’s our job to help protect Australia’s agricultural industries, economy and environment from plant and animals pests and diseases such as FMD—and we want to work in partnership with industry to manage these risks.
“But when there is intentional non-compliance that puts our biosecurity status at risk we use the full force of the law to keep Australia free from exotic pests and diseases.”
This prosecution was a result of Operation Hayride, an investigation which targeted deliberate and serious breaches of the Quarantine Act 1908.
It was initiated after evidence of deliberate importation and distribution of prohibited foods was discovered in 2010.
During Operation Hayride, the department inspected 225 targeted import consignments and more than 300 retail premises. The operation yielded an estimated 132 tonnes of prohibited goods including meat and dairy product.
Source: Department of Agriculture
The law should be all about sending deterrents to wrongdoers, and to warn others about the consequences of similar actions. This court decision does neither, and makes a mockery of the value the Federal Government says it places on agriculture, and the beef industry specifically.
can”t believe the sentence,should of had a bali court.
The ACCC and Joe Hockey hand Primo to JBS allowing the multinationals to gouge more money from Australian beef producers, and now this, ISS gets a small slap with a limp lettuce leaf for knowingly importing prohibited meat into Australia. Has this country been taken over by intoxicated vegetarians?
Typical of Governments in Australia today, if you are a threat to Australians or our livelihood “A smack on the back of the hand”. Instead of threating our live trade over a couple of drug dealers, lets toughen up with stronger laws on those who want to advantage of our weak Governments.
This is one of the most ridiculous justice settlements.We are a laughing stock. What is AQIS doing??
Why has it taken from 2010 til now to get a conviction? And then an absolute disgrace to get such a light suspended sentence. What is the Victorian County Court thinking ?
A clear message this certainly was not.
Why on earth was he not jailed and fined a substantial sum.
A suspended sentence is just a joke.
A very clear message which brings fear and trepidation to the heart of anyone contemplating an illegal importation of meat from a proscribed source. “You’re a very naughty boy. You could have cost Australians $52 billion dollars over twenty years. Don’t do it again”.