Monday, 3 August 2015, 12:30 pm
Press Release: Ministry For Primary Industries
Bird nest delicacy earns $15,000 fine
03 Aug 2015
A North Shore man was fined $15,000 in Manukau District Court last week (30 July) for trying to illegally import a Chinese delicacy that threatens New Zealand’s poultry industry and native birds.
Tian Chi Lee, 40, of North Shore, had earlier pleaded guilty to a Biosecurity Act charge of knowingly attempting to possess unauthorised goods – 68 dried birds’ nests. He was fined $15,000.
Bird’s nests are a Chinese delicacy made from the saliva secretions of the swiftlet bird. Swiftlets can carry a number of significant avian diseases not found in New Zealand.
The offending involved a package sent from Malaysia in January marked as biscuits and addressed to a “Mr David” at an address on the North Shore.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) x-ray equipment at the international mail centre identified the package contained organic material and it was found to contain 68 birds’ nests.
An investigation uncovered that “Mr David” was in fact Mr Lee. He admitted that his brother in Malaysia had sent the birds’ nests with a false declaration to a fictitious person because both of men knew they were not allowed in New Zealand.