Sunday, April 14, 2019
Singaporean man Alex Chang avoids jail after smuggling 176 endangered fish into Adelaide
A Singaporean man, who smuggled 176 endangered fish into Adelaide earlier this year, has avoided spending any more time behind bars.
Kuok Weai Alex Chang, 45, pleaded guilty to importing a disease or pest for commercial advantage, and spent about 50 days in jail after his arrest before being released on bail.
The District Court heard customs officers stopped Chang in February with 176 Arowana fish.
The fish ranged from seven centimetres to 20 centimetres in size and were hidden in two bags.
Inside the two bags were 41 plastic bags filled with water, and some of the colourful fish from South-East Asia were dead.
The fish had a market value of just over $235,000.
The court was told Chang was supplying an aquarium shop owner, who is also facing charges.
He met his co-accused at a training session for aquarium shop owners in Adelaide in August 2013 and the men became good friends.
Chang had qualifications in aquaculture, worked for a fish farm and Judge Steven Millsteed said he was "aware of the risks associated with live importation".
He faced a maximum penalty of 10 years' jail.
But taking into account his cooperation with authorities, previous good character and time already served, Chang's sentence of one year and nine months was suspended.
The married father of one was released immediately on a $1,000 two-year good behaviour bond.
Judge Millsteed said Chang's crime was "financially motivated" because he was hoping to use the money from the fish smuggling to set up a health supplements business.
"You feel a great deal of guilt and shame," Judge Millsteed said.
He said character references "paint a positive picture of you" and "you have essentially been a decent man".