customs media release
Galah eggs hidden in underwear - Wednesday, 9th November 2005
Customs officers at Sydney Airport have prevented an attempt to smuggle Australian native birds' eggs out of the country in a passenger's underwear.
A 56-year-old Australian national, from Auburn in Sydney, was stopped and searched by Customs as he was about to board a flight to Bangkok, Thailand, yesterday.
During the search, officers allegedly located six eggs wrapped in pantyhose and concealed in the man's underwear.
The eggs, which have been provisionally identified as Galah eggs, were removed and placed in an incubator at the airport pending a decision on their future.
Customs investigators have charged the man with attempting to export a regulated native specimen without permission. He has been bailed to appear in Downing Centre Court in Sydney on 6 December.
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, the maximum penalty for smuggling wildlife is a fine of up to $110,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.
Customs Regional Director NSW, David Collins, said Australia has some of the strictest wildlife protection laws in the world.
"In this case, an attempt was being made to take Australian birds' eggs out of the country. The trafficking of native species is a criminal act which Customs takes very seriously. "
Customs National Manager Investigations, Richard Janeczko, said, "Customs remains vigilant for any potential smuggling of wildlife into or out of Australia. This is particularly relevant at this time given the international concerns over bird flu. Officers in NSW are to be congratulated for their efforts.
"Customs will continue to work nationally with other agencies such as the Department of Environment and Heritage and internationally to protect the community from the potentially disastrous impact of wildlife smuggling."
Corporate Communication 02 6275 6793
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