A MIGRATION lawyer has revealed the simple mistake that very nearly landed her with a £1,116 fine at the Australian border.
Traci Chen was travelling with her mum from Dubai to Brisbane when the pair were stopped and questioned by bio-security staff.
In a video posted on TikTok, Ms Chen said: “I just came back from Australia a few days ago, and when I came through customs I was questioned by bio-security for like 30 minutes, and almost fined over $2,000 [£1116.60] because of this from.”
In the background of the video, Traci pointed to a sample copy of the incoming passenger form she had to fill out.
Traci said she had ticked the “yes box” to questions seven and eight on the form to declare that she had some saffron and honey in her suitcase.
But as her bag went through the security scanner, she said it was subsequently pulled to one side.
It was handled by a Border Force officer who – according to Traci – said: “I am going to give you one more chance to declare to me everything that you’ve brought through because I can see in the scanners what you’ve bought through.”
Traci said her and her mum were flummoxed over what other items would need to be declared, but were encouraged to “think carefully” by staff at the border.
She then said her mum pulled out a straw hat and asked if this was the item that was causing all the trouble.
While Traci had disclosed the saffron and honey, Border Force officials explained that the straw hat should’ve been declared as well as a packet of makeup wipes.
She said: “My mum was on the verge of tears.”
Traci told the Daily Mail Australia: “I bought [the hat] in Australia.
“She [the officer] also mentioned the makeup wipes, because they’re organic or something they can be considered ‘organic products’.
“This was something I had no idea about that, I declared food, I declared everything else but a straw hat, really?”
The video has been viewed over 500,000 times and users rushed to the comments.
One person wrote: “I would be putting in a complaint – make up wipes? I’ve never considered that in a million years.”
Many others were quick to agree and confirmed that they’d “never had to declare make up wipes”.
According to the Australian Border Force website any passengers who have provided “false or misleading information to a biosecurity officer” could be fined $2,664 (£1,480) Australian dollars, be subjected to civil penalty proceedings, and prosecuted for a criminal offence.
If convicted, the maximum penalty is $1.1 million Australian dollars (£550,000) or 10 years behind bars.
Australia isn’t the only country with strict rules.
In Singapore, it is illegal to import chewing gum while Thailand has banned importing, exporting and possessing a vape.
And popular cold remedies (Vicks and Sudafed) are banned in Japan due to their strict laws on stimulant drugs – including the use of pseudoephedrine.
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