A mother and daughter were jailed for four months after police mistook their tea for drugs.
Vun Pui “Connie” Chong and daughter, San Yan Melanie Lim, residents of Sydney, Australia, imported 25 kilogrammes of brown ginger tea for selling it for a profit of around $92 Australian dollars.
Their packages were confiscated at an airport by Australian Border Force (ABF) officials, who wrongly identified the beverage for amphetamine drug Phenmetrazine.
A heavily-armed police officer raided the mother and daughter’s home in Sydney and arrested them on the charge of commercial drug supply. Interestingly, the arrests were made despite officials having been informed of the issues with tests that are done to identify drugs.
The mother-daughter duo were locked up for four months without bail. The charges against them were dropped only after New South Wales Police conducted its own forensic test.
Sydney’s Downing Local Court was informed that the test by ABF only identified a spectrum of substances that were similar to Phenmetrazine.
While the mother and daughter were behind the bars, a forensic operator from the Australian Federal Police wrote a letter to the leading officer of the case to show concern over the test results.
Tara Conaghan received a letter from an AFP officer who said the lab results from two earlier incidents involving similar products had found there were “no prohibited substances.
The court took notice of the error and observed that the mother and daughter would not have been jailed had Conaghan passed the information of the botched tests to their defence team.
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