Suspended jail terms for Tahiti biosecurity breach

8:04 pm on 18 April 2019

A senior official in French Polynesia and three others have each been given a suspended six-month prison sentence for importing thousands of banned plants from France.

Jean-Claude Tang and the three others have also each been fined between $US10,000 and $US20,000 and are to pay similar amounts in customs duties.

Those sentenced include the head of French Polynesia's horticultural association and a horticulturalist.

The court found that they bought the plants at a fair in Paris and got them into Tahiti by making false declarations to dodge biosecurity.

The defendants claimed that they wanted to have a greater plant variety in their businesses and gardens and that they were collectors.

Mr Tang said he was unaware of what his wife had ordered but officials found banned plants at their home.

Mr Tang and his wife plan to appeal.