customs media release
Mixed bag of weapons proves no game for importer - Wednesday, 30th August 2006
A 48-year old Chinese born Australian woman from Marrickville has been convicted of importing more than 400 prohibited weapons.
Hui Ping MO, a retail operator, appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court today where she pleaded guilty to importing undeclared prohibited weapons under the Customs Act 1901.
MO was sentenced to 12-months imprisonment with a non-parole period of one month. MO was also required to enter into $1,000 recognisance to be of good behaviour for the remainder of the 12-month sentence upon her release. It is understood that MO may appeal the sentence.
In May 2005, Customs officers at the Sydney Container Examination Facility stopped a shipping container, sent from China, for x-ray examination. The officers discovered a consignment of 320 illegal weapons.
The deadly cache included: 100 extendable batons, 60 butterfly knives, 52 push knives, 30 trench knives, 20 star knives, 12 flick knives, 12 items with concealed blades, 10 electric shock devices (stun guns), 10 knuckledusters, 8 soft air pistols and 6 sling shots with arm braces. The goods had been declared as "festival commodity", specifically mah jong, plastic carry bags, paper lanterns, and festival decorations.
Further investigations resulted in search warrants being executed on two retail outlets in Haymarket, one residential property in Marrickville, and a car. A further 155 weapons were seized, including: 63 baton swords with concealed blades, 48 pairs of nunchakus, 6 throwing axes, 19 daggers as well as a quantity of other items with concealed blades.
Customs Regional Director New South Wales, Gail Batman, said today that the conviction should serve as deterrence to Australian importing individuals and businesses that might contemplate this type of activity.
"Importers who attempt to avoid Customs controls to try and smuggle weapons into Australia can expect to be caught and pay the price," Ms Batman said.
Unless prior permission has been obtained, such items are considered prohibited imports under Customs Regulations. Importers of these types of weapons, without the necessary permissions, face fines of up to $275,000 and/or 10 years imprisonment.
For further details contact Corporate Communication (02) 6275 6793 (24 hours)
Images are available from the image gallery - see 'Weapons stopped at the border - 20 May 2005'
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