Man sold illegally imported food on WeChat -- not knowing potential 'buyer' was AVA officer

A 35-year-old man was slapped with a $12,600 fine after soliciting travellers to smuggle food items from China and selling them on WeChat.

Ong Fu Yong was fined $12,000 for the possession of illegally imported duck’s blood and dried beef slices, plus an additional $600 for abetting the illegal import of salted duck eggs.

He had planned to sell the items, said the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 14).

An AVA officer had posed as a potential buyer on Ong Fu Yong’s WeChat account following a tip-off.

Ong was nabbed on Nov 2, 2017 when he delivered the items ordered by the AVA officer.

The AVA officer found 60 kilograms of duck’s blood, 0.5 kilograms of dried beef and 36 pieces of salted duck eggs -- all of which were illegally imported from China -- in his possession.

Investigation revealed that Ong had been soliciting travellers to smuggle food and meat products from China since 2016 to sell on WeChat.

In return, Ong would offer the travellers a transport fee as payment for their extra baggage allowance. Thereafter, Ong would post the products on his WeChat account for sale.

The AVA added in its statement: "Animal blood food products, such as duck’s blood, are prohibited in Singapore as blood can easily support the growth of bacteria and harbour 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 only be imported from accredited sources in approved countries that comply with our food safety standards and requirements.

"Illegally imported food products are from unknown sources. Apart from being a food safety risk, they also may pose a risk to our public and animal health."

Anyone who illegally imports meat products from unapproved sources is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and/or two years’ jail.

In the case of a second or subsequent conviction, offenders are liable to a fine of up to $100,000 and/or a jail term of up to three years.

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