In brief: sentence for illegal egg imports

A Canberra man who was intercepted at Sydney International Airport in 2015 attempting to import three fertile chicken eggs in his pockets and underwear has today been fined $660 in the Queanbeyan Local Court, and ordered to be fingerprinted and photographed.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ acting head of Compliance, Dr Robyn Cleland, said that Mr Dang Thaow was subject to inspection when he arrived at Sydney International Airport from Bangkok on 8 November 2015 when the concealed eggs were discovered.

“When it comes to biosecurity, it only takes one bad egg to put us all at risk,” Dr Cleland said.

“Fertile chicken eggs are high biosecurity risk items as they can carry exotic diseases such as Newcastle Disease and Avian Influenza.

“That’s why the importation of hatching eggs into Australia is strictly controlled—this safeguards us from highly contagious viruses that can infect domestic poultry and many species of captive caged and wild birds, with some strains able to be transmitted to humans.”

Mr Thaow had stated that he intended to consume the eggs for medicinal purposes, but DNA testing conducted on the eggs confirmed they were fertilised chicken eggs.

Departmental investigators executed a search warrant on Mr Thaow’s residence, where a number of domestic chickens and hens were located in cages, which he denied owning.

On 30 May 2017, Mr Thaow appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court, where he pled guilty to one count of illegal importation under the Quarantine Act 1908.

“We need people to do the right thing and not bring or send things to Australia that could result in pests of diseases getting here,” Dr Cleland said.

“We concentrate our efforts on those who intentionally try to thwart our systems, with serious consequences for offenders.

“With the gross production value of the poultry industry estimated at $2.2 billion and the egg industry estimated at $653 million, an outbreak of an exotic disease would have serious social and economic consequences for Australia.

“This is another lesson for anyone hatching a plan to bring eggs here—we take these incidents very seriously.

“Travellers carrying foods, plant material or animal products in their luggage must declare them on their incoming passenger card.

“The community has a big role to play here in protecting our human, plant and animal health from these pests and diseases.”

Be biosecurity aware: visit the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website for more information on what can’t be brought or mailed to Australia.

For information about what can and can’t be sent to Australia go to Travelling or sending goods to Australia.

Media Contacts

Media outlets can contact the media team by phone.

Email form: Media
Phone: 02 6272 3232
International phone:
+61 2 6272 3232

Members of the public and industry can contact us through our general enquiry contact information