A Vietnamese passenger was caught trying to smuggle live tropical fish into New Zealand in his trouser pockets.
New Zealand Customs officials noticed the man had bulging pockets in his cargo pants with water dripping through the fabric when he arrived at Auckland Airport this week from Australia.
The man said he was carrying water from the plane because he was thirsty. When asked to show what was in his pockets, he revealed two plastic bags containing water and seven live fish.
He said he was bringing the fish into New Zealand for a friend.
After a full search, New Zealand Customs referred the passenger to MPI biosecurity officials.
"This appears to be a deliberate attempt to smuggle fish into the country without any consideration of the biosecurity risk involved. That's something we take very seriously, which is why we are laying charges under the Biosecurity Act," says Craig Hughes, the Ministry for Primary Industry's local passenger manager.
The fish were identified as cichlids, although the exact species was unknown.
"The fish could have been carrying diseases or have the potential to displace native species. Even if the species were permitted to enter the country under New Zealand's import regulations, it would still need to go through strict quarantine procedures," says Mr Hughes.
In Taiwan, a traveller thought he'd come up with an innovative method of smuggling gold into Korea - by shaping it into clothes hangers. Unfortunately for the gold smuggler the idea wasn't smart enough as customs officers arrested him at Incheon International Airport with £52,000 worth of the metal. That's a lot of hangers...
In Bangladesh, customs officials seized 415 turtles from two men in Shahjalal International Airport. The mini reptile haul included 300 rare starred tortoises, 90 three-keeled turtles and 25 Indian roofed turtles. The animals were carried in three suitcases and worth an estimated three million taka (£24,760) on the black market.
Swiss border guards arrested six French citizens at Geneva railway station who were carrying more than 42 tasers disguised as mobile phones and flashlights, hoods, masks and laser devices. The strange assortment of items also included a cigarette lighter that hid a knife inside, an expandable spring baton, handcuffs and several balaclavas. Weird!
Some people are prepared to go to extreme lengths to commit a crime. A Chilean man travelling to Barcelona was found wearing a cast made from cocaine on his broken leg. Before he could claim the doctor had got the plaster mix wrong, airport security officers found bags of cocaine in his luggage too. It turned out he did have a broken leg but officials were almost certain he'd broken it on purpose to smuggle the drugs.
Customs officers at Melbourne International Airport discovered 51 live tropical fish concealed beneath the skirt of a female passenger. They selected a 43-year-old woman for a baggage examination after she arrived on a flight from Singapore and became suspicious during the search when they heard 'flipping' noises coming from her waist. An examination revealed 15 plastic water-filled bags holding fish in a purpose-built apron.
A Cypriot monk and two accomplices were caught trying to board a plane in Athens with the skull and bones of a nun in their luggage. When questioned about the remains in his luggage, the 42-year-old monk said he was transferring them from Greece to a monastery in Cyprus because the nun was a saint. But the Cypriot Orthodox church did not believe the story and said the attempted smuggling was sacrilegious.
A New York City man's attempt to smuggle a date rape drug into the US was sniffed out by customs dogs. The 50-year-old put the liquid in bottles and said it was "holy water" but lab tests confirmed the dozens of bottles contained Ketamine, a hallucinogenic used as a date rape drug.
An African prince tried to smuggle cocaine concealed inside onions into the UK. The 55-year-old prince thought the onion odour would hide the drugs worth £163,000. Shrimps and other smelly fish were packed in his luggage but sniffer dogs at Heathrow still managed to smell through the pungent odours.
Yuk! A smuggler was caught trying to hide a live Loris monkey in his underwear at India's Indira Gandhi International Airport. The little monkey measured seven inches in length and weighed 150g. Customs officers found it in his underwear while frisking him. Loris monkeys are an endangered species indigenous to South East Asia and India, and are believed to possess aphrodisiac qualities.
A woman and her daughter were arrested at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport in 2010 when they tried to check in the woman's dead husband on a flight to Berlin. They said the 91-year-old deceased man in the wheelchair was asleep but security was alerted when a member of staff became suspicious.
A woman in Barcelona was caught allegedly smuggling cocaine inside her breasts. Border police noticed the suspicious activity when the Panamanian woman arrived on a flight from Colombia with scars and blood-stained gauze wrapped around her chest. She was taken to a hospital and doctors found cocaine packed inside the implants.
A 48-year-old man tried to smuggle 14 rare Peregrine falcon eggs out of Birmingham Airport. Jeffrey Paul Lendrum wrapped the eggs in socks and attached them to his body to keep warm so that he could hatch them later. The eggs were worth £70,000 and were to be sold by the businessman in Dubai, where breeders will pay thousands of pounds for eggs snatched from the wild.
When customs officers at Kiev airport asked a Ukrainian woman to open her suitcase in 2007, they found a vibrator with a bag of hashish stuffed in the battery compartment. A border police spokesman said: "She told us that she had put the drugs in a vibrator because she thought no one would ever think of touching it, let alone looking inside it. She was obviously unaware of how thorough our officers are in their searches."
A 21-year-old woman declared a few soiled nappies at a US-Mexico border crossing but the suspiciously chunky diapers were seized when they were found to contain several links of spicy pork sausage. Customs officials said the nappies were folded to look soiled. Strange!
A man in Bangkok was caught carrying suitcases full of baby leopards, panthers, monkeys and a bear. The traveller thought he could smuggle the 'zoo' of animals through Suvarnabhumi International Airport for a flight to Dubai but undercover police had been watching him ever since he made the black market purchase of animals.
A Mr Potato head toy containing 293grams of ecstasy from Ireland was seized by Australian Customs back in 2007.