The manager of Hyun Woo Trading, was convicted under under section 70C (3) of the Quarantine Act 1908 and was given a nine-month suspended prison sentence, dependent on good behaviour for two years and a AU$5,000 bond, by the South Port District Court yesterday.
The country’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) said an investigation uncovered 130 tonnes (t) of food products – including meat – which had been illegally imported from Korea. The company’s manager, who was not named, was found guilty of distributing some of these products. He was convicted for possessing or conveying goods that had been illegally imported.
DAFF’s first assistant secretary for Border Compliance Tim Chapman said: “The individual was found to be distributing meat illegally imported from Korea, a country that 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 company itself will face sentencing at the end of April, DAFF officials confirmed.
The conviction follows a similar case last year, when the director of Limeke Corporation was sentenced by Brisbane District Couty to two years and 11 months in jail for illegally importing more than 14,000t of pork and chicken products from Korea. The company was fined AU$60,000
“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,” said Chapman.