An Australian woman was fined A$2,664 (S$2,542) after she brought a half-eaten foot-long Subway sandwich with her on the plane from Singapore into Australia.
Jessica Lee explained on TikTok on July 1 that she bought the Subway sandwich while transiting through Changi Airport because she was hungry, ate half of it, and decided to save the rest for the remaining leg of her trip.
@_jessicaleeee Australian government tings 🥰🥰 starting that OF back up again to SURVIVE the next few months #fyp #australia #subway #boujee ♬ original sound - Jessica Lee
However, she ended up forgetting about her sandwich and failed to declare two ingredients, chicken and lettuce, when she landed in Australia, known for its tough border controls.
“It is my mistake but like, I bought a foot-long Subway at Singapore airport because I was a hungry girl after my 11-hour flight,” she said.
Her first TikTok video on the subject has been viewed over 813,000 times.
How half-eaten sandwich was discovered
On July 17, Lee explained that Australian immigration officers discovered her sandwich after she and her boyfriend declared that they had cigars with them and the couple was subjected to further checks.
Lee said one of the officers even asked jokingly if she was "saving that for dinner", in reference to the half-eaten sandwich when it was spotted.
"I didn't think I'd done anything wrong," she said.
A biosecurity officer then "interrogated" Lee and questioned if she had filled the declaration form correctly.
She was then told sandwich contained fresh produce.
Lee said: "It literally did not occur to me that my Subway had chicken and lettuce in it, which is fresh produce."
She also said she did not think the declaration form applied to pre-purchased food that was not in her luggage.
In the first video, she held up the declaration form and pointed to the fine amount.
She said: “That is a nice little A$2,664 to be paid in 28 days.”
In the comments section, one commenter said international travellers do get let off with a warning without having to pay a fine.
Jessica responded that she was supposedly told by a staff that it is due to a language barrier.
She said: “But because I speak perfect English I can get the fine.”
A spokesperson from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Australia told news.com.au that travellers risk a fine up to A$2,664 for breaching the Biosecurity Act when they fail to make declarations or make false declarations.
“All meat products and vegetables must be declared on the Incoming Passenger Card. This is a legal declaration," they said.
According to the spokesperson, mandatory messaging on board before landing will be broadcast on all airlines to highlight the need to declare food and ingredients, and to leave all food on-board.
Similar messages also appear in the arrival areas of Australian airports.
Top photos via @_jessicaleeee & Subway