A Chinese smuggler was stopped when she tried to enter New Zealand with nearly 1,000 cacti and succulents strapped to her body.
Wenqing Li, 38, who also goes by the name Wendy, was sentenced to 100 hours of community service after she was stopped twice trying to enter the country through Auckland International Airport with the plants, according to the New Zealand biosecurity ministry. She will also be subject to 12 months of “intensive supervision” by law enforcement, typically reporting to a probation officer and ceasing certain activities. Ministry for Primary Industries said Wenqing Li, 38, was sentenced to 100 hours of community service after she was stopped twice trying to enter the country through Auckland International Airport with plants.
According to the Ministry for Primary Industries, in the earlier incident, in March 2019, Li disposed of of 947 cacti and succulents inside an airport bathroom after catching the attention of a police dog. In July 2019, she was caught with 142 unauthorized seeds inside iPad covers and snails and pieces of tree fern stem wrapped in wet paper.
The sentencing was a “good reminder that anyone who smuggles plants or other endangered species into New Zealand can expect to be prosecuted,” Simon Anderson, regional team manager at the Ministry for Primary Industries, said.
“Our country is fortunate to be free of many of the invasive pests and diseases found in other countries,” he added.
“Our economy and way of life is dependent on keeping these threats out of the country.”