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Funny Things People Try To Smuggle Through Customs

While most of us stress at the thought of our luggage breaching maximum weight as we approach the check-in desk, or fume at having to gulp down the remains of our bottle of water or precious morning coffee, purchased just minutes earlier in the food court lest it breach the 100ml liquid rule, other travellers amongst us seem a little less fearless and much more brazen, especially when it comes to customs or border security.

Thanks to the connectivity of our modern world, there are now many sites and reality television shows like ‘Border Security’ that catalogue attempted (and often wonderfully hilarious) breaches of airport customs around the world. The team here at Ace Airport Parking are regular followers of such tales and have collated a list of the best that we will release as a series. In no particular order:

Photo credit: jeremyfoo on

1. Something Fishy

Many of our choices come from foreign airports, but Melbourne airport isn’t immune from the odd incompetent smuggler. One woman would have been in flagrant breach of the 100ml liquid rule as she was pulled up for inspection when officials heard “flapping noises” emanating from her clothing. Under closer inspection, she was found to be wearing a custom-designed apron under her skirt that held 15 containers filled with over 50 live tropical fish.

2. Frequent Flyers

While we are at Melbourne airport, in 2009 a seemingly normal male passenger disembarked a flight from Dubai with an illegal stash of plant seeds and birds eggs in his possession. While these are obvious breaches of Australia’s strict quarantine laws, customs officials were also bemused upon seeing two live pigeons inserted into padded envelopes and taped to the man’s legs.

3. Toy Story

Most children will fly with a favourite stuffed toy or other comforting possession, but a female passenger at Bangkok airport must have seemed a little out of the ordinary when x-rays showed her suitcase was full of stuffed animal toys. While not being illegal in their own right, she did have some explaining to do when one of the toys attempted to climb out of the case! The lady was attempting to sell the Tiger cub on the Iranian black market for up to $5000. Needless to say, both passenger and Tiger cub ended up behind bars.

4. Mad Cow Disease

Culinary habits differ across the world, and one man’s delicacy is another man’s nightmare. Apparently, cows’ brains are a much sought after delicacy in Egypt, to the point where a regular smuggling route has arisen from Sudan. At Cairo airport in 2012, three men (who obviously had no human brains amongst them) attempted to smuggle in 190kg destined for Cairo’s restaurant scene. Customs officials destroyed the confiscated brains.

5. Air-achnophobia

Finding one rogue spider in a bag would be distressing for most people, so imagine the surprise and shock when customs officials at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport discovered 200 live tarantulas individually bagged and secreted amongst a German couple’s luggage, clothing and shoes! The couple had returned from an obviously adventurous trip to Peru where they had also stolen millipedes, crickets and other insects. The Netherlands confiscated the stash in accordance with their strict wildlife importation laws.

As Melbourne’s premier airport parking provider, we are at the frontline of witnessing stressed, late, and panicked travellers. Next time you’re seeking Melbourne airport parking, why not try Ace Airport Parking? We are located a mere seven minutes from the airport, offer convenient online booking, short and long-term parking options, 24/7 monitored security and fast shuttle buses; we guarantee the start of your journey won’t contain any surprises!

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