Gang arrested trying to smuggle KFC into Auckland, NZ

Two men tried to reach the city – where Covid restrictions banned takeaways – with $100,000, three buckets of chicken and an undisclosed quantity of fries, police say

Photo: New Zealand police found three buckets of KFC chicken and an undisclosed quantity of fries when they arrested two men trying to cross into Auckland despite city’s strict lockdown. Photograph: New Zealand Police

20 September 2021 | Tess McClure | Guardian

Two men have been arrested after police said they found them with a car boot-full of Kentucky fried chicken and over $100,000 in cash as they tried to cross the border into Auckland despite New Zealand’s strict Covid-19 lockdown.

The men were arrested after allegedly trying to flee from police near the Auckland border. When their car was searched, police said they found a large quantity of KFC, as well as the cash and a number of empty ounce bags.

The arrest struck a chord with New Zealanders – especially Aucklanders, who have spent a month in a strict level four lockdown that does not allow restaurants to open or residents to order takeaway food.

In such an environment, fast food can take on the aura of a high-value illicit substance. Last week, a man was charged by police after posting a social media video of crossing the Auckland boundary in search of McDonald’s.

There was more than $100,000 in cash and "a car boot full" of KFC, police said.

After the KFC arrest, a police spokesperson said “officers noticed a suspicious looking vehicle travelling on a gravel road, and upon seeing the police car, the vehicle did a U-turn and sped off trying to evade police.

“The vehicle was searched and police located the cash, alongside empty ounce bags and a large amount of takeaways.”

Close examination of the police evidence photos revealed at least three buckets of chicken, up to 10 tubs of coleslaw, and an undisclosed quantity of fries.

Police recovered more than $100,000 cash from the car.
New Zealand police also found more than $100,000 in cash when they arrested the two men. Photograph: New Zealand Police

While the scene resembles the plot line of a buddy crime comedy, it is in fact a serious breach of New Zealand’s lockdown laws. A breach of the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act can result in imprisonment for up to six months; or a fine of up to $4,000.

The men will appear in court for breaching the health order, and police said further charges were likely.


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