Friday, 21 August 2009

CATCH THE BUZZ - Honey Hucksters Guilty

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Honey Importers Caught, Convicted and  to be Sentenced in November. A good day for U.S. Beekeepers

By Alan Harman

 Chinese executive Boa Zhong Zhang pleads guilty to conspiracy to smuggle goods into the United States by using false statements and to introducing adulterated foods into interstate commerce.

   The Seattle Times reports the plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Seattle means the vice president of Changge Jixiang Bee Products Ltd. in Henan, China, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on Nov. 30.

   Still facing trial are  Chung Po Liu of Bellevue, 68, owner of Rainier Cascade and Evergreen Produce, and Yong Xiang Yan, 60, board chairman of the Chinese honey company.

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Investigators say they mislabeled honey containing three antibiotics as coming from other countries to avoid antidumping tariffs.


   A U.S. Department of Justice statement says Boa Zhong Zhang was accused of rerouting 21 shipments of Chinese honey worth $1.6 million to avoid $3.3 million in punitive antidumping tariffs. The honey was shipped from China to the Philippines or Thailand, where it was relabeled and sent on to the U.S.

   One shipment in January 2008 is believed to have been contaminated with ciproflaxin -- an antibiotic sometimes sold under the trade name Cipro.

   “Submission of false customs documentation to avoid paying tariffs defrauds not only the U.S. government, but the public who is unaware of the scheme and unwittingly purchases the products,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent-in-Charge Leigh Winchell says in a statement.

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