This find was no triviality for the court!
Wenqing Li (38) wanted to smuggle around 1000 rare cacti attached to her body through New Zealand customs. Now she got the receipt from the court: 100 social hours!
Li landed in Auckland on a plane from China in March 2019. She had an incredible 947 succulents and cacti tucked around her body in stockings, according to the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday.
When she was noticed by a sniffer dog, she tried to dispose of the plants in the airport toilet – unsuccessful!
Officials searched the area and found, among other things, three of the bulging smuggled stockings in the men’s toilet.
The total value of all plants found: more than 6000 euros!
With the judgment that has now been passed, Li was also punished for another attempt at smuggling. Just four months after the first crime, she was caught carrying 142 illegal seeds. Li had hidden them in wrapped iPad cases.
A ministry investigator: “This ruling is a warning to anyone trying to smuggle endangered plants or other endangered species into New Zealand.”
New Zealand has strict plant import laws. The authorities are trying to prevent new pests and diseases from spreading to the native plants.