Australian Arrested for Pigeon, Eggplant Smuggling
A man described as "an Australian pigeon fancier" was arrested in Melbourne on February 3 after customs officials found two birds in his pants.
Officials said the man had wrapped each pigeon in a roll of newspaper and stuffed one down the inside of each leg. (They helpfully provided this picture of the man's bird-smuggling configuration -- at least I assume this is the actual smuggler and not a later reenactment.) In a classic case of overreaching, he had also stuck two eggs in his pockets. After officials noticed the lumpy pockets and found the eggs, said a spokesperson, "[t]he man was taken to a private interview room [where] officers found he was wearing tights with a live pigeon concealed in each leg." It can't have been a very comfortable ride for any of the parties involved, especially since the man had been on a ten-hour flight from Dubai.
Note to self: it is apparently easy to waddle through airport security in Dubai without drawing too much attention.
Exactly why he was smuggling the pigeons into the country was not entirely clear. Some speculated that the birds were racing pigeons, which can sell for over $500,000, assuming there is anybody left out there with half a million extra dollars to spend on racing pigeons. Whatever the reason, he is now facing charges under Australia's very strict customs laws, intended partly to prevent non-native plants or animals from being brought in and messing up whatever sort of ecosystem they have down there. The unidentified man could face as much as ten years imprisonment for the pigeons in his tights.
Additional charges are also possible based on the "undeclared aubergine in his holdall," which as far as I can tell translates to "undeclared eggplant in his backpack."
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