VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A Canadian judge has ruled a woman doesn't have to pay more than $47,000 to get back a Rolex watch border agents seized from her in 2008.
Border officials had taken the watch from Eun Kyung Shin, a permanent resident of Canada since 2005, after determining she had failed to declare it when she arrived at Vancouver International Airport upon returning from trip to her native South Korea, Postmedia News reported.
An officer's report stated the woman at first indicated through her interpreter-friend that she had received the watch before immigrating to Canada, but appeared nervous and cried. She then said her husband, who still lives in South Korea, had given her the watch in 2007 and she did not declared the watch at that time because it had been a gift, not a purchase, the report said.
The officer took the watch and said she could get it back by paying 60 percent of its value, which came to $47,455.78.
Shin appealed the decision administratively, but lost. She then filed in Federal Court of Canada, contending the amount owed was unreasonably punitive and offered 5 percent, or $3,954.65, Postmedia said.
Judge John O'Keefe ruled in her favor last week, saying the Canada Border Services Agency's internal manual allows for flexibility in cases of "negligence, carelessness and lack of knowledge on the part of the importer."
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