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Aucklander fined $31k for selling illegal bird's nest delicacy on WeChat

An Aucklander has been fined $31,500 for trying to and selling an illegal delicacy that threatens New Zealand's poultry industry and native birds.

Edible bird’s nest (file photo). Source: istock.com

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) said beauty salesperson Linying Ouyang, 30, pleaded guilty to three charges relating to her selling and attempting to sell dry edible bird’s nest on Chinese messaging app WeChat.

The total value of the nests she sold was $765.

She was sentenced yesterday in the Waitakere District Court. The charges related to incidents between May and November 2019.

“Bird’s nests are a Chinese delicacy made from the saliva of the Swiftlet bird. Swiftlets can carry avian diseases, and are a biosecurity risk; this is why untreated product is not allowed into New Zealand,” MPI manager of compliance investigations Ron Scott said.

He said the offending was planned and involved selling illegal goods for financial gain.

“Having edible bird’s nests increases New Zealand’s risk of exposure to avian pathogens,” Scott said.

“MPI takes a firm stance on cases involving bird’s nests and this case shows our commitment to removing that risk.”

A search warrant was executed at Ouyang’s home in November 2019. Her cellphone and laptop was seized as part of investigations, along with records of her WeChat conversations.

“These revealed two completed sales and four attempts to sell dry edible bird’s nests through a WeChat group where she advertised edible bird’s nests for sale.”

She also posted photos of the nests she was selling on WeChat.

Ouyang was charged under the Biosecurity Act 1993.