Quarantine scores hole in one
1 June 2004
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) takes smuggling prohibited items very seriously, as a Singaporean woman discovered in Perth Magistrates Court today.
The passenger, a regular traveller to Australia, was fined almost $5,500 for failing to declare almost two kilograms of unidentified meat product, which was discovered when her golf bag was X-rayed.
Peter Lockwood, AQIS Assistant Regional Manager at Perth International Airport, says, “The passenger made no attempt to declare that she was carrying meat, but Quarantine is now screening 100 per cent of all passengers arriving in Australia from high-risk countries.
“An X-ray revealed her golf bag was carrying more than clubs, and a Quarantine inspector found packets of what we believe to be pork or beef. When we examined her other bags, we found a further two packets of the same product.”
Pork and beef products are restricted because they could introduce a range of livestock diseases — including foot and mouth disease — any of which could threaten Australia’s $32 billion dollar agriculture export industries.
Meat products could also carry bovine spongiform encephalitis, or ‘mad cow disease’, which has devastated livestock industries in many countries and which also threatens human health.
“With a son living in Perth, the passenger is a frequent traveller to Australia and can’t claim to be unaware of our Quarantine requirements,” Peter says.
“There’s no excuse for trying to smuggle items that could have such a huge impact on our environment, agriculture and economy . . . and because we use detector dogs, X-ray technology and physical inspection of passengers’ bags, there’s no point in trying.”
17 Jul 2006