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Woman who hid lemons in pants on flight to New Zealand sent back to Hong Kong

By Daniel Uria   |   March 24, 2016 at 12:29 PM

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, March 24 (UPI) -- A woman was sent back to Hong Kong from an airport in New Zealand after attempting to smuggle lemons into the country by hiding them in her pants.

Sniffer dogs from Auckland Airport's biosecurity department were able to detect the smell as the woman arrived in New Zealand on a flight from Hong Kong. Border officials found six lemons in the woman's pants and the Ministry for Primary Industries said that she hid them there intentionally.

"Her excuse was that the lemons were good for her liver and other illnesses. That may be true, but it doesn't justify endangering New Zealand's horticulture industry by illegally bringing in fruit that could harbor pests or diseases," Craig Hughes of the MPI told the New Zealand Herald.

She was then refused entry into New Zealand and forced to return to Hong Kong on the next available flight.

Hughes commended the work of both the MPI and New Zealand immigration officials in their handling of the incident. He also stressed the importance of enforcing rules meant to support biosecurity.

"We want to send a strong message to smugglers who show contempt for our biosecurity rules," he said.

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