A Brisbane grocery chain owner who employed 35 people was jailed for six-months for illegally importing pork and chicken products into Australia from Korea, while the country was in the grip of a deadly foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.
Archerfield-based Limeke Corporation Pty Ltd and its sole director Mark Kim, 49, pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court to the illegal importation of more than 14 tonnes of frozen chicken and pork products worth more than $70,000 on six occasions throughout 2010.
Judge David Reid said the illegal importation of pork patties, cutlets, ham strips and sausages put Australia’s livestock industry at risk of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that would have had “a devastating impact.”
He said the illegal importation of chicken products brought with them a risk of Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease, both of which had the capacity to “devastate” the poultry industry and could be characterised by “very high mortality rates”.
Judge Reid said there had been repeated outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and highly pathogenic Avian Influenza between 2006 and 2011 in Korea.
The court heard Kim’s company had been a quarantine-approved premises since March, 2000, but did not have a permit for the products he later smuggled in.
A shipment labelled as “frozen fishcakes, salted jellyfish and crab meat” was selected for a random quarantine inspection in late 2010 when a “number of suspect items were observed.”
Kim was sentenced to total of two-years and 11-months imprisonment, to be released on a good-behavior bond after six-months served.
Limeke Corporation was fined a total of $60,000.