Freight Forwarder Receives Large Fine for Smuggling 7000 Litres of Korean Alcohol

Wednesday 22/06/22

A man already serving a term of imprisonment for importing illicit tobacco into Australia has been fined $20,000 this week in the Perth Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to a separate alcohol smuggling offence under the Customs Act.

The Korean national was charged with one count of smuggling dutiable goods, after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers examined a sea container arriving at Fremantle Port concealing more than 7,000 litres, or 999 boxes of soju, a popular alcoholic drink in Korea.

The same sea container also contained 500 cartons of 100,000 cigarettes which represented a total of $123,095 of revenue defrauded to the Commonwealth, when customs duty and GST is calculated.

ABF Superintendent Clinton Sims said the man had also taken advantage of his position as a registered freight forwarder, with access to ABF’s Integrated Cargo System to commit the offences.

“He abused his position of trust by accessing the cargo system to monitor the arrival and processing of the sea container, which is something that the ABF will not tolerate,” Superintendent Sims said. 

“Malicious insiders that misuse systems that otherwise help to support legitimate trade for Australian businesses will find themselves being placed before the courts.”

In September 2021, ABF officers observed the sea container carrying the alcohol and cigarettes being delivered from Fremantle Port to an industrial unit in Welshpool, where the offender was located.

In April 2022 the man was sentenced for the illicit tobacco offence to nine months imprisonment, to serve four-and-a-half months in custody and four-and-a -half months on a good behaviour bond.

The maximum penalty for smuggling dutiable goods such as alcohol is a fine of five times the duty that would have been payable if the goods were declared for home consumption, which is more than $500,000.

The maximum penalty for importing tobacco products contrary to the Customs Act 1901 is 10 years imprisonment, or a fine of five times the duty that would have been payable on the goods if declared. 

Information and images sourced from here.