Two visitors from Vietnam have been refused entry to Australia and had their visas canceled for breaching the country’s biosecurity requirements after failing to declare pork products at airports in separate incidents in October and November.
On October 12, one female passenger from Ho Chi Minh City failed to declare that she had in her baggage over nine kilograms of food products including uncooked pork, the Australian Embassy in Vietnam said in a media release on Thursday.
The foods included 4.6 kilograms of uncooked pork, 470 grams of eggs, 1.3 kilograms of cooked quail, one kilogram of pate, one kilogram of squid, and almost one kilogram of unidentified fruit and of garlic.
On November 2, a passenger from Hanoi failed to declare almost four kilograms of mooncakes containing pork in his baggage, the embassy added.
Both passengers had their luggage X-rayed and, after the “serious biosecurity risk goods” were found, they were issued infringement notices for AU$420 (US$290) by biosecurity officers and had their Australian visas canceled by Australian Border Force officials, according to the statement.
The Vietnamese nationals were also placed in immigration detention pending removal from Australia.
“[Australia is] serious about biosecurity and has implemented a zero tolerance approach to those who fail to declare serious biosecurity risk goods such as pork or beef when arriving into the country,” the statement reads.
A person whose Australian visa is canceled generally cannot apply for another visa for three years, according the embassy.
They may also be liable to civil court action or criminal prosecutions in appropriate cases.
“Travelers are banned from bringing most pork products from African swine fever countries into Australia, full stop,” Australian Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie was quoted as saying.
“A recent round of testing found nearly 50 percent of pork products seized from air travelers tested positive for African swine fever.”
The Australian government advises travelers not to bring food, plant material and animal products to Australia, according to a biosecurity warning issued by the Australian Department of Agriculture.
“This includes meat, fruit and vegetables, dates, seafood, eggs, nuts, dairy goods, mooncakes, birds’ nests, seeds and plants,” the warning states.
“Travelers must also declare to Australian biosecurity officers if they are carrying anything that is contaminated with soil or has been in contact with animals or used in rural areas.”