Customs media release

$10,000 penalty for smuggling pepper sprays

A 25-year-old Cambridge Gardens man was found guilty of Customs charges last week and penalised $10,000 for smuggling 16 canisters of pepper spray into Australia, and for possessing a number of illegally imported anti-personnel sprays.

Investigations into the import attempt by Mr Ashneel Pratap began after Customs and Border Protection officers at Clyde International Mail Centre intercepted an undeclared package addressed to his mother.

Officers found the package contained 16 various coloured canisters labelled as 'Dragon Pfefferspray', or pepper spray.

It is illegal to import anti-personnel sprays or the chemicals used in their manufacture for purposes other than law enforcement, and permits for their use are required.

Mr Pratap was charged with importing prohibited goods and possessing prohibited goods without a permit, contrary to the Customs Act 1901

Mr Pratap pleaded guilty to both charges in Penrith Local Court on Friday 12 June.

The magistrate ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine for each charge and he incurred more than $1,500 in associated court costs.

Customs and Border Protection National Manager Investigations, Richard Janeczko said the penalty handed down by the magistrate on Friday sent a strong warning to people thinking about illegally importing these types of items.

"Australian law imposes strict controls on the import of anti-personnel sprays. This case has kept a large number of dangerous goods off Australian streets.

"Just because they can be ordered over the internet does not mean they are legal in Australia.

"Importing dangerous goods such as these without the appropriate permit will lead to an investigation and prosecution," Mr Janeczko said.

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