8 Chinese shop owners fined $5k each or face prosecution

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Eight Chinese owned shops in were caught unlawfully smuggling and selling planting seeds without import permits were fined $5,000 each on the spot failing to do so within 14 days they will be prosecuted.

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The Chinese shops were caught during an operation by the Biosecurity Solomon Islands (BSI) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) – supported by members of the Royal Solomon Island Police Force (RSIPF) during an operation last week.

In the operation, eight Chinese owned shops from Point Cruz, Central Market, China Town and Kukum area were caught to have unlawfully smuggling and selling planting seeds without an import permit.

“All items found in the shops during the operation were confiscated and brought to BSI office for further verifications before destroying,” Samuel Hone of the BSI Compliance & Auditing said.

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“During our search and interview with shop owners it is evident that they have breached the Biosecurity Act 2013 because they do not possessed or displayed any permit to import plants and plant product into Solomon Islands.

“The 8 shop owners have been advised to pay a non-compliance penalty fee of $5,000 each, failure to do so within 14 days means facing prosecution,” he added.

Francis Tsatsia Director of BSI said the raid was very important and the support of the Police to ensure this was supported and implemented under the law was critical.

“Biosecurity must ensure what is regulated under the Act in terms of goods imported and exported must be adhere to at all times. There is a procedure established under the Biosecurity Act on how to import seeds for planting in this particular case. Seed for planting is a regulated good which means it has some elements of risk associated with if imported without Biosecurity risk analysis processes. Other pests and diseases that are seed born can be transmitted through seed and can spread to Solomon Islands if Biosecurity process is not follow.”

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