The manager of a Gold Coast company has been sentenced for being in possession of illegally imported food products from South Korea.
The development is the latest chapter in the ongoing fallout from the discovery by Australian Government officials of an illegal food import racket from South Korea.
Department of Agriculture Officials last year discovered that more than 130 tonnes of food, including cooked and uncooked meat products, had been imported from Korea and distributed through a variety of eastern states retail outlets.
DAFF officials announced on Friday that the manager of Gold Coast company, Hyun Woo Trading, has been sentenced for being in possession of some of the illegal products.
The company’s manager was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, wholly suspended to be of good behaviour for a period of two years, with a $5000 bond in the South Port District Court yesterday.
The sentence marked the third imposed under the operation.
The Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry’s First Assistant Secretary, Border Compliance, Tim Chapman, said the outcomes send a strong message to individuals and industry who deal in illegally imported products.
“People need to be aware that bringing products into the country illegally and spreading those goods within Australia can pose a serious biosecurity risk and that there are serious consequences for doing this,” Mr Chapman said.
“The individual was found to be distributing meat illegally imported from Korea, a country which was experiencing an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease at the time.
“The risk of this activity to Australian agriculture and trade is unacceptable.
“This individual had an extensive distribution network through wholesale and retail arms of the business and any spread of products carrying disease through these channels could have had disastrous results for Australia.”
The manager of Hyun Woo Trading was charged under section 70C (3) of the Quarantine Act 1908 for possessing or conveying goods that had been illegally imported.
Hyun Woo Trading is expected to face sentencing at the end of this month.
In October last year a man received a suspended jail sentence and heavy fines following prosecutions under DAFF's Operation Hayride, which was established to investigate the illegal imports of Korean food, while in November last year a Queensland man was jailed.