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Importer nabbed for palming off U.S. lobsters as Canadian products

2017/05/16 11:40

SEOUL, May 16 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean importer has been arrested for selling American lobsters under a Canadian label for two and a half years, the South Regional Headquarters of the Korea Coast Guard said Tuesday.

The importer, identified only as 53-year-old Kim, is accused of importing 18 tons of American lobsters worth 2.13 billion won (US$1.9 million) in 321 shipments from September 2014 to March this year and selling them to local restaurants as more expensive Canadian products, the maritime police agency said.

Lobster (Yonhap file photo) Lobster (Yonhap file photo)

Kim earned about 2.6 billion won from the alleged fraud, as American lobsters are about 20 percent cheaper than their Canadian counterparts in the local market, the agency added.

The agency noted that Kim replaced the origin labels of imported lobsters and fabricated the relevant documents to sell them as Canadian products to local restaurant owners.

"American lobsters are less popular than Canadian products due to less meat and local consumers and restaurants were deceived by the label changes," said a maritime police officer.

"The manipulation of lobster origin labels is rare here so the police will widen investigations to crack down on similar scams," the officer said.