Fish company research head tries to smuggle fish into Australia

Fish company research head tries to smuggle fish into Australia
Australian customs officers found 20 plastic bags said to contain live and dead endangered fish concealed in Alex Chang Kuok Weai’s luggage when he arrived at the Adelaide Airport on a flight from Singapore on Feb 2.

He has a doctorate, was a polytechnic lecturer and heads a department at one of the biggest fish companies here.

But yesterday, Alex Chang Kuok Weai, 44, was charged in Australia with attempting to smuggle endangered fish into the country.

If sold, the fish would have netted Chang, the head of Qian Hu Corporation's research and development, at least A$235,000 (S$250,000), according to figures reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

ABC reported that customs officers found 20 plastic bags of live and dead endangered fish in his luggage when he arrived at the Adelaide Airport from Singapore on Feb 2.

Around 26 of the fish were listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

In an online press release, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service said that a search of two properties linked to Chang in Adelaide resulted in more exotic fish being found, including an Asian Arowana, valued at almost A$30,000.

Qian Hu's website states that Chang joined the group in January 2009 and holds a doctorate from the National University of Singapore specialising in fish molecular genetics.

He was a lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic before he joined Qian Hu, a company listed on the Singapore Exchange.

Chang is also a member of the Ornamental Fish Business Cluster, a partnership between companies and the Government to promote the industry.

A spokesman for Qian Hu said Chang was on leave when he visited Australia in his personal capacity.

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