SINGAPORE - A 35-year-old man has been fined for possessing and abetting the illegal import of food items.
The man involved, Ong Yu Fong, was fined $12,000 for possessing illegally imported duck's blood and dried beef slices. He was fined an additional $600 for abetting the illegal import of salted duck eggs from China. These items were intended for sale.
A statement by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on Thursday (Nov 14) said that an officer, acting on a tip off, had posed as a potential buyer on Ong's WeChat account.
Ong was caught on Nov 2, 2017, when he delivered the items ordered by the AVA officer. Ong was found with 60kg of duck's blood, 0.5kg of dried beef and 36 pieces of salted duck eggs that were all illegally imported from China.
AVA found that Ong had been soliciting travellers to smuggle food and meat products from China since 2016 that he then sold through WeChat. In return, Ong would offer the travellers a transport fee as payment for their extra baggage allowance.
Any person who illegally imports meat products from unapproved sources for the first time is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000, two years in jail, or both. For subsequent convictions, there is a maximum $100,000 fine, up to three years jail time, or both.
Animal blood food products, such as duck's blood, are prohibited in Singapore as blood can easily support the growth of bacteria and carry diseases. Unhygienic harvesting of blood can also result in the introduction of food-borne pathogens into blood food products.
Meat, eggs, and their products, can be imported only from accredited sources in approved countries that comply with AVA's food safety standards and requirements.