Friday, 2 February, 2001, 18:35 GMT
              Tourist smuggled geckos in pants.

              A German reptile collector has been fined US$5,300 for attempting to smuggle lizards out
              of New Zealand in his pants.

              Customs intercepted Jorg Kreutz, 38, trying to leave the country with two green geckos
              in his underwear, according to Customs Minister Phillida Bunkle.

              The geckos, a male and pregnant female, were seized alive, but the female has since
              died, according to the Associated Press.

              Officials said Mr Kreutz, a shop assistant from Frankfurt-Am-Main, was the first person
              convicted for trying to export protected reptiles since the recent revision of the Wildlife
              Act to allow for tougher penalties.

              "The stiff fine given to Kreutz highlights the court's willingness to impose significantly
              greater penalties on offenders," Conservation Minister Sandra Lee said.