Aussie customs to seize Mortal Kombat imports

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service adds refused classification fighter to blacklist; copies detected to be confiscated, fines up to A$110,000 issued.

The Australian gaming population fired up overnight, with news coming in yesterday afternoon that the Australian Classification Board (ACB) had decided to uphold the decision to slap a refused classification (RC) rating to fighting game Mortal Kombat. A game that has been RCed is illegal to promote or sell in Australia, meaning the title is effectively banned Down Under. And for those considering importing the game to circumvent the ban, it seems the Australian authorities are already on the lookout and ready to stop copies from reaching the nation.

GameSpot AU spoke with an Australian Customs and Border Protection Service spokesperson, who confirmed that the service had added Mortal Kombat to its list of prohibited items. The spokesperson said attempting to import Mortal Kombat is indeed illegal as it breaches the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.

Check out the video below to see an example of the extreme violence in Mortal Kombat.

"As Mortal Kombat has been refused classification in Australia, it is considered objectionable material. It is therefore a prohibited good and illegal to import into Australia," the spokesperson said. "Customs and Border Protection works closely with Attorney General’s Department to identify imported games that are banned in Australia. This includes games purchased over the Internet from foreign websites. Attorney General’s Department regularly updates Customs and Border Protection about classification decisions on publications, films, and computer games, including the reclassification of material, and about different versions of computer games (some of which may be refused classification), and how to identify those versions at the border. This information is then used to assist in identifying and seizing banned versions of games.

"Any copies of the games detected at the border, including via international mail, will be seized."

The Customs spokesperson said someone caught trying to import RCed games into Australia could expect a fine of up to three times the value of the product, or A$110,000, which ever is greater.

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260 comments
vecsim89
vecsim89

@MichaelChainsaw, I'm Aussie myself and even I thought your comment was hilarious :P . I agree.

damaster101
damaster101

I didn't mind before but this has gotten absolutely ridiculous now, people should always put there governments FEET TO THE FIRE.Despite the majority of what people want, a few losers can do whatever they want because we've let government completely take over decisions.Its not about the game being banned(although i really wanted to buy it)it just shows the flaws in our system and not just here but around the world. Its just a very small minority of people(scumbags) who leech off millions and then police us which truly have no interest in regards to the good nature and capacity of our earth.Politics is purely a popularity contest and is based on opinion and economic 'growth' not on what the planet/science shows is best for us!!Now im going to go watch some mortal kombat gameplay so i can learn how to rip Julia Gillards spine out of her skull.

shanakar
shanakar

This is exactly why Australia is considered a third world country and why the gaming industry is dead here. Australia is a joke for a country and really needs to get new politicians and people running things because we're just degrading further and further. I live in Australia myself, down south in Victoria. Kids today see much worse stuff on prime time TV shows and from their own parents then what they see in Video Games and I think all activist groups and also all these idiots in power who make these decisions need to get their heads out of their behinds and smell the fresh air and open their eyes to see more clearly. All these game bans are completely stupid. I say, if a person cannot tell the difference between a game and real life, then they should be shot or placed indefinitely into a mental institution. Not to mention, its up to parents to monitor what their children play, why not just rate it R18+??? Australia has become a complete and utter joke of a country to live in.

MichaelChainsaw
MichaelChainsaw

Glad I don't live down under. Pretty lame coming from a colony formed by exiled criminals.

Zero_resistance
Zero_resistance

GEEZ! And I thought the British government were c#$ts. First Mass Effect now MK. Who have you got running the country? Mary Whitehouse? Seriously though, I do feel SO sorry for the Australian gamer. Having to have to miss out on (what I feel) will be one of the games of the year. Skyrim ban next? CRICKEY!!

Nintenfan3424
Nintenfan3424

I really feel sorry for you guys I imagine things are going to change real soon in AUS The Next Awesome game they ban will be the last straw.

raichou
raichou

But anyway Mortal Kombat has always been so violent to the point of wincing for players (tats why its so appealing I guess) but banning it just breaches freedom of speech.

raichou
raichou

People can just pirate it via torrent on the net. For those console gamers who still thnk PC games r the only ones being pirated, u should really take a good look at the torrent sites. There are now the same amount, if not more, PIRATED CONSOLE GAME TORRENTS as PC ones. What they did here in banning the game is just ridiculous & useless and will further encourage piracy.

tko6070
tko6070

all dock at ye olde pirate bay tavern

maxguevera
maxguevera

Just got alerted by Mighty Ape in NZ who I pre-ordered the Tournament Edition from that it was a risk and the suggested cancelling. Very disappointing to live in a country where your views aren't represented, just because the content isn't mainstream!

ferus_prime
ferus_prime

The way customs regulations work for Video games is filled with loopholes and problems. Mortal Kombat is banned, you can't import it. GTA 3 was banned and you couldn't import it... But when the censored version was released you could import it. Likewise with Left 4 Dead 2, the normal version could be imported over the censored version without any problems. Games that aren't released in Australia (Mother 3 for instance) can be imported but aren't classified... While not filled with objectionable content, it's still not classified. It's stupid, idiotic... And as soon as a censored version is released you'll be able to buy the standard version without a problem. Why? Because that's how our government works.

Deeksie
Deeksie

It is interesting that the Customs Regulations 1956 which specifies prohibited imports into Australia was last amended on the 10/3/2011 which concerns Libyan imports hence there is currently no sign of Mortal Kombat specifically being a prohibited import. This would imply that all games refused classification have always been illegal, or that they've all being defined as tier 1 objectionable materials (http://www.customs.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/ACN2009_55.pdf) which does incur this $110k penalty. In either case all articles discussing this issue is very misleading. Of course my interpretation and collection of legal documents isn't reliable, but this is how I see it.

raziel2001au
raziel2001au

Can someone please contact the author of this article and get them to correct it? Or if he really believes there is a $110k fine, to confirm that it is for personal imports, not commercial ones. See, I think the reporter was talking about personal imports, while the customs person what talking about commercial imports, they are vastly different topics. So in the end, the content of this article is very questionable.

jvsexy
jvsexy

@Bruce_the_Ugga , read my comment below. Hope it helps.

Bruce_the_Ugga
Bruce_the_Ugga

I'm beginning to think that the only way I'm going to be able to play the games I want is to move to another country. I shouldn't have to do that, but that's how bad it is. I hate being an Aussie, this government has brought me nothing but despair.

Darth_DuMas
Darth_DuMas

This is a joke, whats next, Austrailia's going to have games dealers on the streets next to the drug dealers. "hey man, I got this game, banned material, go on, you know you want it". It's sad, your grown men and women and you're being told what you can play.

jvsexy
jvsexy

Im not an australian but I believe there is still a way around. My views: 1) Before buying the game online, ask the seller to remove the manual of the game & the game picture slide out that is attached to the game cover. 2) Next, ask the seller to reprint the disc or just cover the whole disc with a dark sticker (or 2 white stickers) 3) Then with a pentel pen, write on the sticker "Family Fotos" or something like that but not a game name. 4) Next ask the seller to send it in a simple disc cover (not the PS3 cover). 5) The seller should make sure when sending, NOT to label the package as a "Game". Maybe just a disc with family fotos. Note, you will NOT get the game manual but it will available on the internet for sure ! There shouldnt be any evidence that the game is Mortal Kombat. 6) Next, when you get the game, dont tell anyone & just play! I hope this is good. If you find any loopholes or any way customs can find out, you can respond to my comment. Cheeers !!!

raziel2001au
raziel2001au

I really wish the author would update this article since it is clearly inaccurate and misleading. The customs spokesperson was talking about commercial importing here. Now every damn web site on the internet is reporting that anyone will get fined $110,000 if they attempt to import the game. Please read the comments and adjust the news article.

denaz
denaz

Thanks gamespot!!! Now due to this f***ing interview, multiple game stores aren't even willing to send it to australia. Want to know the reason they give!?! They don't, they link us to this stupid interview! Way to f***ing ruin any chance that we had to import the game. Seriously who's bright idea was it to interview customs!?! What did you think you'd get out of it? other then them paying even MORE attention to people trying to import this game!? You basically just went and f***ing pointed out that people would be trying to import this game, so of course they are going to be on the look out now because you f***ing posted the story for the whole of australia to see.

topcat_laugh
topcat_laugh

i hate my government. treats us like we're children. so conservative we have to poke them to see if they're breathing. If we had Kevin Rudd still in we'd have had an R rating on video games and none of this song and dance sucking up to the Christian lobby and small minded small membered interest groups. I'm still getting this game, somehow. If anything this has made me more adamant to get it. They dont realise that the more they restrict this the more people will resist. I wasn't even going to get this game but now i need it, i need it as a protest to my government that i cant live in a police/nanny state. I'm an adult gamer, and i demand my mature entertainment. Just caus some fuddy duddy doesn't get it doesn't mean i shouldn't.

Appleseed1982
Appleseed1982

@Roach.. We are living in a country run by dictators.. the funny thing is we have been controlled for so long, that when tobacco prices rose here, no one gave a crap (i did - i went and protested in canberra) the truth is however that we live in a police state. No one ever protests for their own civil liberties like do they in the USA, or EUROPE. We just get screwed by everything here. I agree with you totally with your comment... Shouldent these massive resources they are being directed towards MK be directed at drug dealers or arm'd robbers or people speeding in school zones? WTF is going on here.. Can anyone else see whats happening?? Looks like ill be asking my mate in Asia to bring me back a copy. F**k this sh*t. Am so over it.

Appleseed1982
Appleseed1982

I am so sick of being controled in this country and for what. Just because of an outdated and retarded classifcation system. It just doesent make sense to me why XXX Porn is not RC'd and yet games that an adult such as myself play are. Banning imports is also just as retarded. Im so sick of this crap and the sad thing is, its only going to get worse. I give up on this whole classification issue and the politicians behind stopping the new system to be introduced. Regardless what anyone says, im also sick of the OFLC!! They have massive influence in the issue, but in recent times have been placed as an "angel" instead throughout various media sites. Im so happy im leaving this place in a couple of months and then i wont have to put up with retarded taxs, crappy roads, racist cops, retarded politicians as well as having my decisions made for me by people who dont even know me and dictate my life. All's well that end's well.

gameking5000
gameking5000

The seize on imports is worse than the fines.

LoCo_8
LoCo_8

This is just ridiculous, Australia. Why fine someone just because a game was "refused classification"? The Australian government need to realized that they are not "protecting their citizens," they're treating them like kids, while acting like kid dictators thereselves.

Rayrota
Rayrota

110,000 AUD (107,836.04 USD)?! Do you know how many tacos I can buy with that much money? Please tell me that at least some of that money will go to a relief fund.

Roach
Roach

"In other words, if you import the game, it may get seized, but you will not receive a $110,000 fine unless you import 25 or more copies of the game, or plan to display/sell/hire etc. This information is from documents on the Australian Customs website" Thanks Snakelet, I should have done my research. I just read this article that said if "someone" imported the game they would be liable for this fine. There is obviously more to it as you have indicated.

Bruce_the_Ugga
Bruce_the_Ugga

OMG! I hate my country!!! Worst country in the world. Now adults will actually be punished for standing up for their rights. This whole fiasco is taking a heavy toll on me, I don't know how much more I can bare. I think I'll just slit my own wrists if they ban or censor the next GTA.

AceBalls
AceBalls

There ya go. The only way you will be able to own the game now is to become a customs officer. It will be for free too! .. and you won't have to fiddle with anyone's anus.

MegaMatt91
MegaMatt91

Meanwhile, I turn my tv onto the news and see that in sydney there is another driveby shooting. Why can't you be as good at stopping crimes that would actually affect people, as you are stopping a game from getting into the country. How about you get hard on the sh*t that actually matters? Free country my ass...

conkerton
conkerton

Australia had the right idea banning 50 cent: Bulletproof. That game was so terrible sex with barbed wire was a better use for your time. However, it should have been the peoples choice to play that garbage or fornicate with iron points not theirs.

AlbAshA-
AlbAshA-

That is Sad when in 2011 Australian authorities have nothing better to do but look for a game that is Rated for M to ban from their country, instead of educating the parents and store sales ppl that there is something for adults and something for kids, just like the movies. Maybe they'll start banning those too. Starting to think they are getting too much attention and that is why they are taking it to the extreme. Ignore their monkey A$$.

conkerton
conkerton

@wolfishoutcast Yes the government has the ability to make very vocal about what it deems as acceptable and unacceptable. However, it is inappropriate to say "the citizens will not this game because we say so". Although for AU this may be par for the course for Americans that is a slap in the face as each of our opinions are different. Slap a Adults Only rating on it if needed, but don't tell adults this game is too mature for their well being.

Snakelet
Snakelet

Interesting reads: Australian Customs Notice - ACN 2009/55 Customs Regulations 1926 Summary: The criteria for determining objectionable goods are consistent with the RC (Refused Classification) criteria in the National Classification Code and the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995. Tier 1 offences currently attract penalties of up to $110,000 in fines and/or five years imprisonment. Tier 1 penalties apply to categories of objectionable material defined in the Customs Regulations 1926 as either: i) The import or export of 25 items or more; or ii) Goods imported for the purpose of: (a) selling the good; (b) letting the good for hire; (c) by way of trade, offering or exposing the good for sale or hire; (d) distributing the good for the purpose of trade; or (e) exhibiting or displaying the good in public. In other words, if you import the game, it may get seized, but you will not receive a $110,000 fine unless you import 25 or more copies of the game, or plan to display/sell/hire etc. This information is from documents on the Australian Customs website.

Duke_51
Duke_51

That's a ridiculously large fine for wanting to play a damn game. $110, 000? Right... I bet they don't plan to make any profit off this at all, this is solely to protect the "well being" and "mental state" of its citizens...

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

Are you serious? I hope this is just a load of talking tough in the hopes it will cut down on imports. But if it isn't, then what a waste of resources. Don't Customs have better things to be on the lookout for?

gangstapimp07
gangstapimp07

My country officially sucks. seriously going into this much effort to stop a goddamn game from being bought even though we see movies which are just as bad. lol at my totally childish country.

raziel2001au
raziel2001au

I think you guys are misreading the fine bit... I think that refers to shops importing it to Australia for sale, so if EB games suddenly decided to import it, they would get sued 3 times the value of the product, or A$110,000, whichever is higher. In other words, don't buy to sell, you'll get screwed over, no multiple copies or anything that might give the idea you intend to make a profit from it. I think for personal imports it'll just get confiscated. I can't seriously see them fining you $110,000 for importing an RC game that doesn't even have anything illegal in it. That's just ridiculous.

Roach
Roach

Drive with presence of Cocaine in body - up to $1,100 for 1st offence / $2,200 for 2nd offence Heavy Vehicle / Truck speeding more than 45 km/h over the limit in a school zone - $3,066 Selling tobacco to a minor - $11,000 for 1st offence / $55,000 for subsequent offence Fail to ensure safety of employees at work - $55,000 for 1st offence / $82,500 for previous offender Importing banned video game into country - $110,000 So if I get caught importing Mortal Kombat I am considered worse than driving with cocaine in my system, speeding through a school zone in a semi-trailer at 45km/h over the speed limit, selling tobacco to a minor, or even providing a dangerous work environment for my employees. WOW!! Looks like I'm going to prison real soon. Once they find out what me playing Mortal Kombat in the privacy of my own home does to people outside that don't even know I own it. I'm sure they'll re-introduce the death penalty just for evil sinners like myself. Just for a second there I'll felt like I was living in a third world nation being run by a dictator.

Roach
Roach

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

wolfishoutcast
wolfishoutcast

Okay, I know I'm going to be flamed for this but I actually support their right to do it, I dn't like it but I support it. The Classification Board may be somewhat conservative as too where they draw the line but they have to draw it somewhere; there are some games I would not want on store shelves and I know other people would disagree with me, therein lies the problem, everyone has different opinions on what is acceptable, the government cannot please everyone so they have to place to draw the line and they have to stand by it. Instead of complaining about it and potentially making the matters worse we need to keep doing what we've been doing already, petitioning for change; it may be taking forever but atleast some members of the attorney are seriously considering R18+ ratings. It's only a matter of time and patience and until them we just have to grin and bear it...

maf17
maf17

Most of the time I love this country. Then there are instances like this, with resources which would be better used catching genuine criminals, being wasted on enforcing petty bureacratic bulls. It would be almost worth it to do it, get caught and then go to court in a blaze of publicity to bring to general attention to this sort of crap. You can bet that would make the state attorneys-general finally pull their collective finger out of their collective anus & give us the R18+ rating we should have had years ago.

chaoscougar1
chaoscougar1

*sigh* there goes another game :( we need an R18+ rating, or parents need to actually do their job and if they arent comfortable with their child playing a certain game, dont let them. Rather than blame devs and the government for letting them in...seriously, I am old enough to drive a car, go to bars, buy cigarettes, have sex, watch R18 movies, but god forbid there is any graphic violence or nudity in a game I am playing...

Sablicious
Sablicious

I'll have this 2-3 weeks after UK street date. Customs / the geriatric AU govt can go nut punch themselves if they think they'll stop this adult playing games he wants! ^_^

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

For me.. If it is illegal to promote or sell 'in' Australia then initially if we order it from overseas then we should also have the right to keep it..

Cortana101
Cortana101

This will only make people download the game illegaly and therefore are committing another crime altogether. Customs may stop the parcels but websites that share these game internationally will not be stopped. Maybe Australia should review its standpoint on this game. It will only make the game lose money in the long run. Though I am not a fan of the R18+ addition some of the games were designed for adults so I should here a 5 year old playing black ops or halo reach.

wolf503
wolf503

this is bullcrap, it's 1 thing to ban it but to prevent us from importing is a whole different story.