Customs media release
Customs and Border Protection cracks egg smuggling attempt - Wednesday, 9th September 2009
Customs and Border Protection has cracked its third wildlife smuggling attempt in Western Australia in the last month with the arrest of two men in Perth.
The first man, a 53-year-old Australian, was arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle 39 parrot eggs into Australia through Perth International Airport. He was stopped by Customs and Border Protection officers when he arrived in Perth on a flight from Bali on Sunday 6 September.
During a baggage examination, officers became suspicious that the man may have been concealing prohibited items under his clothing. Further examination revealed the man was carrying 39 parrot eggs concealed in a specially made vest. The man was subsequently arrested and charged by Customs and Border Protection investigators with attempting to smuggle wildlife into Australia.
The eggs were secured by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and have been sterilised because they are such a high biosecurity risk. Illegally imported bird eggs can carry diseases that have the potential to devastate our poultry industries and kill our native wildlife.
Customs and Border Protection investigators then executed warrants on premises at High Wycombe, where another man was arrested and charged with the alleged possession of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) specimens and wildlife smuggling offences.
Customs and Border Protection National Manager Investigations, Richard Janeczko, said wildlife smuggling is a serious crime.
"Customs and Border Protection continues to investigate and prosecute wildlife smuggling attempts into and out of Australia in a bid to end this cruel practice.
"This illegal trade endangers the animals involved, creates a risk to our environment and involves the possibility of transferring diseases to our poultry industries and native species," Mr Janeczko said.
The first man appeared in Perth Magistrates Court on Monday 7 September.
Under the national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the import and export of wildlife is strictly regulated.
The maximum penalty for breaching this law is $110,000 and/or 10 years jail.
Customs and Border Protection supports the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts by enforcing this legislation at Australia's borders.
For further details contact Customs and Border Protection Communication and Media (02) 6275 6793
Images of the eggs can be found in the media image gallery.
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