Woman slapped with $3k fine over crabby mistake
A WOMAN with no criminal history who thought she was helping out her friend by selling mud crabs has walked away from court with a $3000 fine.
Kei Fu Li, also known as Sandy Li, on Thursday pleaded guilty to nine charges including unlawful possession of regulated fish and unlawfully do act that must only be done by holder of authority.
The court was told that between December 2017 to March 2018, Li, 37, who had moved to Australia from Hong Kong seven years ago, had inadvertently been in possession of female mud crabs.
Li had possessed about 87 mud crabs between those dates.
Li's defence lawyer Geoff Ebert said the offence was the result of an unfortunate "cultural overlay", as Li did not realise it was illegal to have female mud crabs in Australia.
Mr Ebert said in Hong Kong, female mud crabs were a delicacy and favoured over male crabs for their sweet taste.
But he acknowledged that ignorance of the law was no excuse.
He said Li had been in contact with someone called "the crab man" who asked her if she knew any people who wanted to buy crabs.
She would collect money from them and give it to "the crab man", and Li had been a "broker or middle man" for the transactions.
"(She) was not a commercial agent for a profit. There was no commercial advantage for her actions," Mr Ebert said.
He said Li was of impeccable character and had no criminal history to note, had not accumulated even a traffic offence in Australia.
Magistrate Bronwyn Hartigan warned the maximum fines Li could face was more than $1million.
"It shows how serious this offending is," Ms Hartigan said.
She fined Li $3000, saying she doubted she would ever see Li in the court again.