The sneaky thieves tampered with 18 bales, which is estimated at a value of more than $2,000 each, before they were sent out of the city of Melbourne. Chinese buyers raised the red flag when the bullets came, and Victoria Police are now investigating.
Victoria Police believe that these incidents have been occurring since the month of May of this year. Detective Inspector Jamie Templeton said that the reports are considered “very serious”.
Australia exported 254 million kilos of wool to China, which represents 79.3% of the clip of Australian wool during the last year.
“This is not only because the total value of the wool stolen, but also the potential harm that it poses to the Australian export industry,” Mr Templeton said.
“These thefts are very harmful to the life and reputation of the agents that the export of this product.”
In 2016/17, Australia exported 254 million kilos of wool to China, which represents 79.3% of the clip of Australian wool, with a value of $2.4 million, according to woolgrower representative body WoolProducers Australia.
WoolProducers CEO, Jo Hall said: “Australian woolgrowers produce the best quality Merino wool in the world, but incidents like these are detrimental to the integrity of our industry.
“The replacement of Australian wool puts at risk the excellent reputation that Australian woolgrowers
and the whole of the industry have strived to achieve”.
Industry experts say that the affected 18 bales represent only 0.02% of Australia’s wool exports to China.
However, he said that the Australian wool industry has robust processes in place to ensure the quality and integrity of the product to our business partners.
“While this incident is totally unacceptable and the fact that it has been discovered shows
that the integrity of the systems in place for quality assurance of the Australian wool do the work,” Ms Hall said.
Matt Part, the President of the Australian Council of Exporters of Wool, and director-general of the united States of Wool, the Company said that the affected 18 bales represent only 0.02% of Australia’s wool exports to China.
“The incident, and the fact that it was detected, displays the strong bond that the Australian wool industry has with its buyers,” he said. “It also shows that our testing is second to none and the quality of our product is exceptional.
“It is also extremely rare. I have been in the industry for 25 years and I can count the number of incidents of this type in one hand. This shows that if you try to do something like this, then you will get caught.
The Australian wool industry is worth around $2.4 billion a year, according to WoolProducers Australia.
“Anyone who has been in the industry for more than two minutes will have noticed a problem with the bottom of the wool of the quality right away — just by their appearance.”
He added that the affected lots have not been picked up immediately because the process of exporting to China can take up to three months and, once there, the wool can sit in storage for weeks before being sent to the mills.
National council of Wool Selling Brokers executive director Chris Wilcox said that the bottom bales of wool contained in black and coloured wool, which would have ruined any material that if you had gone so far.
Do not think of the permanent damage to the China-Australia relationship — as long as the scam is stopped and the culprits found.
Mr. Templeton said that there may be more people who have been victims of these thefts, and encouraged them to come forward and report it to the police.