Money Matters - Simplified

Tourist with lizards in shorts jailed

Christchurch, New Zealand -- A German visitor who tried to smuggle 44 skinks and geckos out of New Zealand in his underpants is getting a longer vacation than he planned.

Hans Kurt Kubus was sentenced Tuesday to 14 weeks in jail, TVNZ reported. He appeared at a hearing in Christchurch District Court.

Kubus was arrested at the Christchurch Airport after a search by customs inspectors who became suspicious of his nervousness. They discovered he was wearing specially designed underwear with eight pockets that allowed him to store 20 skinks and 24 geckos separated by species.

The lizards can be sold for as much as $2,000 to collectors.

"It does remind us there are persons out there who are willing to exploit reptiles which are native to our country," Customs Investigations Manager Mark Day said.

Kubus' lawyer argued he was only trying to enrich his personal collection, not his bank account. But investigators said his luggage contained other tools, including a night light, for trapping animals in the wild.

"You were selective, you knew what you were after in my view," Judge Colin Doherty told Kubus.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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