Charms not so lucky for passenger

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A passenger’s charms may be lucky for detecting gold but they didn’t impress biosecurity officials at Wellington airport.

The passenger recently arrived from Australia with lucky charms made from snake parts (including fangs from Thailand) and horse hair.

He said the charms were usually attached to his metal detector when he searched for gold.

“As he was planning to leave New Zealand by the same airport, he had the options of having MPI destroy the charms or hold them until his departure,” says Tony Owen, MPI Team Manager.

The passenger chose for MPI to hold the items and collected them on his way home five days later.

“There was no way we were going to allow the passenger to keep the animal parts with him during his stay in New Zealand, as they could have been carrying pests or diseases,” says Owen.

“We didn’t think the charms were particularly lucky when you consider the potential harmful effects to industry or New Zealand’s native species.”

The passenger had declared the items to Ministry for Primary Industries staff, so did not face a fine.

All arriving international passengers are required to declare or dispose biosecurity risk items.

Photo of charms available on request.

NB. This interception was made by the Ministry for Primary Industries, not NZ Customs.

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