Woman who imported illegal food items threatened SFA officer with false molest claim

From left to right: A consignment of illegally imported food products and a duck sitting on a nest of eggs. (PHOTOS: Singapore Food Agency, Getty Images file photo)
The undeclared items were about 32.42 kg of assorted meat products and 60 pieces – or 3.6 kg – of salted duck eggs. (PHOTOS: Singapore Food Agency, Getty Images file photo)

SINGAPORE — While being investigated for illegally importing 36kg of meat products and salted duck eggs, a company director threatened to accuse a Singapore Food Agency (SFA) officer of molestation if her demands were not met.

Wang Shu, also known as Vicky, was fined $5,000 on Monday (12 September) for illegally importing the food products and advertising them for sale online. The 41-year-old Singaporean was also sentenced to four weeks' jail for threatening a public servant.

The director of Thanksgiving Group did not have a valid import licence to import food or any food commodities, according to court documents.

Her offence came to light following an inspection conducted by Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers on a 40-footer container on 29 July 2020, after anomalies in a scanned image were detected. The container had arrived at the Pasir Panjang Scanning Station from China a day earlier for import clearance.

During the inspection, ICA detected several types of food in the container, such as salted duck eggs and sausages, without any valid import permit.

The undeclared food items were sealed and detained at the premises, with the matter referred to SFA for further investigations, court documents added.

An inspection by SFA on 4 August 2020 revealed that the undeclared food items belonged to Vicky and eight other individuals – the latter had been dealt with separately. The items were 32.42 kg of assorted meat products and 60 pieces – or 3.6 kg – of salted duck eggs.

Court documents stated that the meat products consisted of 17.1 kg of chicken and duck sausages, 11.5 kg of pork and chicken sausages, 2.3 kg of crispy chicken sausages, 1 kg of duck wings, and 0.5 kg of beef jerky. Three packets of pork and chicken sausages, 240 g each, were later found to be infested with live maggots.

Investigations revealed that Vicky had ordered them from China through mobile application WeChat and had paid for them via WeChat transfer, court documents said. She claimed that she was unaware that she was not allowed to bring in the food items from China and that this was her first time doing so, court documents added.

Vicky had advertised online on her personal Facebook account to sell some of the food items on 6 October 2020, but her plans were thwarted as the consignment was detained by SFA for further investigations.

She later removed the advertisement but claimed that she could not remember the exact date she took it down. She supposedly managed to recall only after three SFA officers visited her company on 29 October 2020, when she was informed that she should not be conducting the sale of illegally imported food.

The officers went to the company as they were unable to get hold of Vicky through her contact number and a visit to her home.

During the interview with the officers, she confirmed that she had brought in the undeclared food items from China but claimed they were for her family's consumption and not meant for sale by her company. But incriminating communications were detected during a check on her mobile phone.

Vicky started to become uncooperative and asked to end the interview, which was being recorded by hand. Two SFA officers then left the room as they did not want to further agitate Vicky, leaving a third officer alone with her to calm her down.

As Vicky refused to do so, the officer ended the interview and left. While he was packing his belongings, Vicky repeatedly asked for him to hand over the partially-recorded statement but was rejected, said court documents.

Vicky then closed and locked the room's door – the only exit out of the room – while holding on to the door-knob.

She threatened to shout "molest" if the officer refused to hand the statement over to her, knowing that the accusation was false and would injure his reputation, court documents added. She also admitted that at that point she did not believe that he was going to outrage her modesty.

Due to Vicky's threat, the officer handed over the partially-recorded statement to her, which she tore in his presence, and he was allowed to leave the room.

According to a joint statement by ICA, SFA, and the police, the officer made a police report on the same day of the visit.

"Food can only be imported by licensed importers, and every consignment must be declared and accompanied with a valid import permit. In addition, meat and its products can only be imported from accredited sources in approved countries that comply with Singapore’s food safety requirements," the statement said.

The method of concealment involved in this case is a cause for concern as similar methods may be used by people with ill intent to smuggle security items into Singapore, the statement added.

"ICA will continue to conduct security checks on passengers, goods, and vehicles so as to safeguard Singapore’s security. SFA will continue to safeguard food safety through our integrated food safety system, which includes strict import regulations and enforcement, as well as working closely with border control agencies to deter illegal import across our borders."

For importing meat products illegally from unapproved sources, Vicky could have been sentenced to a maximum fine of $50,000 or a jail term of up to two years, or both. Repeat offenders can face a maximum fine of $100,000 or a jail term of up to three years, or both.

For threatening injury to a public servant, she could have been jailed up to two years, or fined, or both.

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