Man fined for smuggling birds' nests

1:39 pm on 3 August 2015

A North Shore man has been fined $15,000 for trying to illegally import a Chinese delicacy deemed a threat to New Zealand's poultry industry and native birds.

Biosecurity sign, Auckland Airport.

Photo: RNZ

Tian Chi Lee pleaded guilty in the Manukau District Court to a Biosecurity Act charge of knowingly attempting to possess unauthorised goods - 68 dried birds' nests.

Bird's nests are a Chinese delicacy made from the saliva secretions of the swiftlet bird.

Swiftlets can carry avian diseases not found in this country.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said the birds' nests were found in a package sent from Malaysia in January marked as biscuits.

Mr Lee admitted his brother in Malaysia had sent the birds' nests to a fictitious person because both men knew they were not allowed in New Zealand.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs