New Zealand Catches Man Smuggling Live Fish in Trouser Pockets
New Zealand will charge a man with smuggling live tropical fish into the country after he was caught trying to walk through Auckland Airport with two plastic bags of water stuffed in his trouser pockets.
Customs officials noticed the man had bulging pockets in his cargo pants with water dripping through the fabric when he arrived at the airport this week, the Ministry for Primary Industries said in a statement. The Vietnamese man was a passenger on a flight from Australia.
The man first claimed he was carrying water from the aircraft because he was thirsty, the ministry said. He then revealed the bags contained seven live fish, which he said he was bringing into New Zealand for a friend, it said.
“This appears to be a deliberate attempt to smuggle fish into the country without any consideration of the biosecurity risk involved,” Craig Hughes, the ministry’s local passenger manager, said in the statement. The fish, identified as a species of cichlid, “could have been carrying diseases or have the potential to displace native species,” he said.
Some fish species can be brought into New Zealand under a strict quarantine procedure, Hughes said. The man faces prosecution under the Biosecurity Act.
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