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Cunning schemers put pig semen in passenger luggage

August 16, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

An extraordinary case involving pig semen being placed in airline luggage has led to two men being jailed in Western Australia.

Two West Australian pig farmers involved in the smuggling of Danish pig semen hidden in shampoo bottles, in breach of Commonwealth biosecurity and quarantine laws, were sentenced in the Perth District Court to prison terms totalling five years.

The court heard that at least 199 sows were inseminated with the illegally imported semen, in a racket which continued for eight years, from 2009 and 2017. The enterprise spawned more than 2000 piglets.

ABC News reported that WA pork producer and managing director at GD Pork, Torben Soerensen, was sentenced to three years imprisonment, and production manager, Henning Laue was sentenced to two years’ jail, after pleading guilty to multiple charges of aiding the illegal importation of pig semen over several years.

Soerensen will be eligible for release after 18 months good behaviour, and Laue after eight months.

GD Pork has been fined AUD 500,000 but company is in liquidation, the broadcaster reported.

Soerensen and Laue arranged for semen to be collected from Danish boars and smuggled into Australia in passenger luggage carried by Danish nationals, to be used for artificial insemination at a piggery in Pinjarra, about 85km from Perth, the court heard.

The court was told that Laue, a Danish national, had advised on hiding the semen in shampoo and hand lotion bottles in a bid to avoid detection by quarantine officials.

Judge Troy Sweeney said that if the Danish men who actually transported the semen were in court, she would have given them longer sentences.

Apparently Danish pigs are more fertile and productive than their Australian counterparts, with Danish sows averaging 32 weaned piglets per year, compared to the Australian average of 26 piglets per year.

While the pig plotters apparently evaded airport security for years, Australian Border Force officers have had more success at other airports.

Airport interceptions this month (all cases are entirely separate and nothing to do with pigs) include:

  • An airline customer service officer was charged after an industrial machine filled with 200kg of methylamphetamine (the drug ‘ice’) was intercepted. As a result of extensive inquiries, a 22-year-old man was arrested by Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers after he boarded a Singapore-bound flight at Melbourne International Airport on Sunday (4 August 2019). Police allege that the man travelled under a false name on a domestic flight from Sydney before attempting to leave the country from Melbourne.
  • Two men were arrested after more than AUD 600,000 of drugs were discovered in garden lamps. A man faced court yesterday, charged by NSW Police Force over the importation of MDMA (‘ecstasy’) and ice, which was detected by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers in an air cargo consignment from Germany.
  • A man from Sydney’s outer northern suburbs has been charged with illegally importing firearm components. As part of a joint operation between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Border Force (ABF), a 44-year-old Berowra man was arrested at Sydney International Airport last Sunday (9 August 2019) after returning from a trip to China.

Written by Peter Needham

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