A man has been jailed for seriously breaching Australian biosecurity laws by importing illegal meat products from South Korea.
Mark Kim, director of Limeke Corporation Pty, pleaded guilty in Brisbane District Court to importing more than 14 tonnes of meat from Korea in 2010. He was charged with aggravated illegal importation offences under the Quarantine Act 1908 and sentenced to two years and 11 months, with a non-parole period of six months. The company was fined $60,000.
The court heard quarantine officers found meat hidden in a shipment of frozen-fish products from Korea during a random inspection of the company premises in late 2010. When questioned, Kim admitted he had illegally imported frozen pork and chicken products on five other occasions.
Sentencing, Judge David Reid said Kim had put Australia’s livestock industry at serious risk by illegally importing meat from a country which suffered from repeated outbreaks of avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease between 2006 and 2011.
Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) said the prosecution was the second under ‘Operation Hayride’, which it claimed had uncovered “widespread and deliberate importation and distribution of prohibited food”.
Commenting on this particular case, Tim Chapman of DAFF’s Border Compliance Division, said: “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.
“Australia 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.”