BY FRANKIY KAPIN____
IAN Chow, the managing director of Lae Biscuit Company, has been convicted of smuggling into the country firearm parts and accessories undeclared by Papua New Guinea Customs Service.
Lae District Court magistrate Jeremiah Singomat imposed a K25,000 fine on Mr Chow after finding him guilty of which he has paid, according to his lawyers.
The undeclared goods confiscated by the Customs include empty ammunition shells, live bullets and gunpowder shipped into Lae four years ago, on April 14, 2012.
In sentencing Mr Chow last month, Mr Singomat indicated that the defendant had shipped a container (identified) under his name containing items which he failed to declare with Customs.
Mr Singomat also stated that the defendant had cooperated with the Customs officials leading to him being charged with smuggling undeclared items, contrary to section 149 (1) of the Customs Act 101.
He also indicated that the lawyer for the defendant entered a guilty plea and made submissions on sentence.
Mr Singomat said the early plea amounts to mitigation and it was also the view of the court that the defendant had not done wrong in the law by mistake.
“He is an educated person, had been in the country as a citizen and had imported items as a nature of his family business many times before the date he committed this particular criminal act in 2012. More importantly, the defendant has the knowledge of the Customs laws of the country,” Mr Singomat said.
In pleading guilty to the smuggling charge Mr Chow had admitted reckless wrongdoing by trying to short cut the process and not completing the importation documentation.
He said he did it because his house had been destroyed by fire and the Lae shooting club under his presidency needed the ammunition.
Mr Chow indicated that the case had resulted in his employment being terminated and leaving him in exile in Thailand for the last four years.
He returned to PNG in August and presented himself to relevant authorities to be indicted accordingly.