Welcome fine for trouser fish smuggler‏

The Ministry for Primary Industries has applauded the fine handed down to a Vietnamese man who tried to smuggle tropical fish into New Zealand in his trouser pockets.

The man pleaded guilty early in September to a charge under the Biosecurity Act 1993. He was fined $2000 after being convicted for the attempted possession of unauthorised goods, knowing they were unauthorised.

Border officials intercepted the man in August at Auckland airport with seven live fish in his pockets in plastic bags. He was picked up after water was seen dripping down his trouser legs.

The judge said he found it difficult to believe Mr Nguyen was ignorant of New Zealand’s biosecurity law, and called Mr Nguyen’s actions a “clumsy attempt” to smuggle the fish into the country.

“This is someone who deliberately broke our biosecurity laws. The individual concerned clearly gave little consideration about the risk this type of behaviour poses to New Zealand’s primary industries and native flora and fauna,” said Dave Blake, MPI Investigation Manager North.

“The fish could have been carrying any manner of disease or pest. That’s why this country has strict biosecurity import regulations,” he said.