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Australia holds 'pigeon smuggler'

The live pigeons, stuffed in envelopes, in the man's trousers
Customs say the pigeons were not endangered

A man has been caught with two pigeons stuffed in his trousers after he got off a flight from Dubai to Melbourne.

Australian customs officials say the live birds were wrapped in padded envelopes and held to the man's legs by a pair of tights under his trousers.

Officials also found two eggs in a vitamin container in the man's luggage.

Australia has strict quarantine rules on the importation of wildlife, plants and food. The man, 23, could face up to 10 years in jail.

The nation's quarantine regulations are designed to protect health, agriculture and the environment.

As well as 10 years' imprisonment, the maximum sentence for wildlife smuggling includes a fine of A$110,000 (US$70,480; 48,902).

Customs officials say they also seized seeds in the man's money belt and an undeclared aubergine, following the flight on Sunday.

They add that the pigeons were not endangered and that the case, as well as the birds, eggs and seeds, has been turned over to the country's Quarantine Service to assess the health risk.



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