Australian lawyer reveals simple mistake she made on customs declaration form that cost her nearly $2,000

An Australian lawyer has uncovered the simple mistake she made at customs that almost cost her over $2,000.

Migration lawyer Traci Chen of Maison Chen Law Group was grilled for over 30 minutes by a biosecurity officer after flying from Dubai to Brisbane after making a false delay on her passenger form.

She wrote that she had saffron and honey on the customs declaration, but didn’t know that she had to declare a straw beach hat and “organic” facial tissues.

The border guard told Ms. Chen She had “one more chance” to disclose what brought her into the country or she would be slapped with a $2,664 fine.

She told Daily Mail Australia she struggled to locate the item before realizing it must be a straw beach hat she had bought in Australia.

“It was very stressful. My mom told me her heart was pounding,” she said.

Persons landing in Australia must declare alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, animals, fresh food, plant material, seeds, soil, meat and animal products

Persons landing in Australia must declare alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, animals, fresh food, plant material, seeds, soil, meat and animal products

Persons landing in Australia must declare alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, animals, fresh food, plant material, seeds, soil, meat and animal products

Ms. Chen’s elderly mother, who also couldn’t speak English, thought that violating them meant they would be sent to prison.

‘I bought [the hat] in Australia,” an incredulous Ms. Chen told Daily Mail Australia. ‘You [the officer] Also mentioned the makeup wipes because they are organic or can be considered “organic products”.

“That was something I had no idea about, I was declaring food, I was declaring anything but a straw hat, really?”

Ms. Chen said the biosecurity officer told her to tick “yes” to each box if she was unsure about which items needed to be declared.

The Aussies were quick to come up with their own horror stories about customs, with many calling Ms Chen’s experience “inconsistent”.

Traci Chen (pictured) is an immigration attorney at Maison Chen Law Group

Traci Chen (pictured) is an immigration attorney at Maison Chen Law Group

Traci Chen (pictured) is an immigration attorney at Maison Chen Law Group

The biosecurity officer claimed Traci failed to declare a straw hat she bought in Australia

The biosecurity officer claimed Traci failed to declare a straw hat she bought in Australia

The officer also said Traci's makeup wipes needed to be declared because they were organic

The officer also said Traci's makeup wipes needed to be declared because they were organic

After being grilled for 30 minutes by a bio-security officer, Traci finally realized what the offending item might be and pulled a straw beach hat from her mother’s bag

Traci had spent some time in Abu Dubai before flying home via Brisbane Airport

Traci had spent some time in Abu Dubai before flying home via Brisbane Airport

Traci had spent some time in Abu Dubai before flying home via Brisbane Airport

“I declared a leather jacket as an animal product that I had when I left here. They said I was wasting their time,” one wrote.

“We were yelled at for declaring a straw hat a waste of time,” said another.

“Even so, I was mocked for wasting their time explaining to Tim Tams. They are so contradictory,” commented a third.

“My mom just went through the same thing. They bothered her with chocolates. She said, “Have you read the box? They’re from Noosa,” said a fourth.

“I once declared my wooden hairbrush with boar bristles from Germany and the officer laughed and waved me through!” said another.

Others, however, said officers were just doing their jobs.

“Guys it’s strict because Australia is an island so any new disease or pest can destroy our ecosystem,” said one.

“Australia has a unique environment so we take our airport security very seriously, even if you don’t,” wrote a second.

Persons landing in Australia must declare alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, animals, fresh food, plant material, seeds, soil, meat and animal products.

Failure to declare an item can result in travelers being fined up to $2,664 and subject to civil penalties or criminal penalties.

If convicted, the maximum penalty is $1.1 million or 10 years behind bars.

https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/aussie-lawyer-reveals-simple-mistake-she-made-on-customs-declaration-form-that-almost-cost-her-2000/ Australian lawyer reveals simple mistake she made on customs declaration form that cost her nearly $2,000

Brian Ashcraft

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