It's the last place they'll look . . . yeah, right

20:38, Jul 18 2014

I have never known a single person to genuinely have a case of ants in their pants, but I'm starting to think they might be out there. A little research tells me that humans have been known to put almost everything down there.

Have you ever heard of the Black Cockatoo Egg Gang? This fearsome-sounding bunch was a 1990s international bird-smuggling gang.

It took a joint operation by law enforcement agencies and ornithological sleuths from Australia, Britain and New Zealand to bring them before the courts.

Their "Mr Big" was a fella named Alan Griffiths, a 68-year-old retired vet and exotic bird expert who was known in his Welsh village as a "loveable rogue".

The Black Cockatoo Egg Gang ring was finally busted when Australian Customs officers caught a bricklayer at Perth airport wearing a well-packed pair of underpants and a vest hiding eight black cockatoo eggs and 21 galah eggs.

They also found a female courier wearing a pink fleece-lined DD-cup bra holding a dozen incubating eggs, including a fledgling which had prematurely hatched during a flight.


They were eventually led to Mr Big's home in Llandysul, where he was rearing one yellow-tailed, eight red-tailed and seven white- tailed cockatoos, plus two red vented and 12 Major Mitchell's cockatoos. They were most likely smuggled as eggs in briefs or bras some time before.

This week we've had our own undie smuggler here in Christchurch.

A prison officer admitted smuggling tobacco into jail in his underwear. The police summary of facts says the loose tobacco was compacted in a vice, making it easier to conceal before it was jammed down his underdaks for the purposes of smuggling.

Given the choice, I'd prefer tobacco in my pants over cockatoo and galah eggs any day.

New Zealanders have a grand history of shoving drugs in their knickers, too.

Lorraine Cohen died in May. She'd spent 11 years in a Malaysian prison for trafficking 140 grams of heroin in her underwear back in 1985. Her son Aaron was found with 34g in his underwear.

There's no point listing all the Kiwis caught smuggling drugs in their pants, but I found a news story from 2001 about a guy caught with 732 ecstasy tablets in his gruts. You have to wonder about the bulge 700-odd tablets would create.

And, of course, there is the Antipodean phrase for tighty- whitey-type undies, "budgie smugglers".

English tabloid newspapers wondered aloud what David "Goldenballs" Beckam might be concealing in his pants when he posed spread-legged for Armani underwear in 2009.

The Sun, in an editorial under the headline "Swollenballs", wrote "Is that a canoe in your pants or are you just pleased to see us?", before going on to guess at other potential contents, such as his son's pet hamster, Scientology brochures from Tom Cruise, or perhaps a pair of festive baubles.

But let's not worry about Beckham.

This very newspaper carried a report in the mid-2000s about a person found carrying nine mangos in their underwear. They were only discovered because the knicker elastic broke and the fruit fell out and rolled across the floor. I'm of the opinion that you should just wait for mango season.

In any case, lizards are a far more popular panty package.

A couple of more the prominent cases in New Zealand featured German tourists, geckos and skinks.

In 2001, a pair of jumping Y-fronts landed a German tourist with a fine of $12,000.

Customs officers acting on a tip- off asked the man to strip, but when they asked him to remove his underwear and place them on a table, the Y-fronts started wriggling on their own. The officers found a male and a pregnant female Northland green gecko.

Then another German visitor was found with the motherlode - 44 skinks in a package in his underwear (and one gecko in a sock).

The prosecutor told the court it was "similar to stealing our family silver".

Oscar Wilde famously told customs officers he had nothing to declare but his genius. There are clearly a number of geniuses around the world carrying considerably more.

The Press