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CRIME

German tourist caught smuggling lizards in his underwear

A German tourist has been caught trying to leave New Zealand with 23 geckos and 20 skinks hidden in his underwear, a court heard on Monday.

German tourist caught smuggling lizards in his underwear
Please sir, don't put me in your underpants! Photo: DPA

Hans Kubus, 58, was stopped at Christchurch Airport on Sunday after checking in, and was searched by customs staff.

A small package containing the reptiles was found in his underwear, prosecutor Mike Bodie told the Christchurch District Court on Monday.

“The package contained eight separate compartments separating various gecko and skink species,” he said.

Kubus’ luggage also contained a single gecko in a rolled up sock.

A total of 24 geckos were found from five different species, as well as 20 skinks from two species.

The German admitted trading geckos and taking geckos and skinks from the wild without a permit.

A black market trade in geckos exists in Europe and those taken by Kubus would have had a street value of around $35,850 US, Bodie said.

The value of the skinks was unknown because trading in that species had not previously been identified.

Kubus was due to be sentenced on January 25.

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CRIME

US man confesses to murder of tourist by famed Neuschwanstein castle

An American man accused of raping and killing a fellow US tourist near Bavaria's famed Neuschwanstein castle last year made a wide-ranging confession on the first day of his trial Monday.

US man confesses to murder of tourist by famed Neuschwanstein castle

Troy Philipp B. faces several charges including one count of murder over the death of the 21-year-old woman. He also stands accused of the attempted murder of the victim’s friend, also an American citizen.

“The accused committed the incomprehensible act,” his lawyer Philip Müller told the district court in the southern town of Kempten.

The two women, then 21 and 22 years old, had been hiking in the Neuschwanstein area in June last year when they met B., who offered to take them to a viewpoint, investigators said.

At a secluded spot, the man, then 30, allegedly pushed the 21-year-old woman to the ground and proceeded to rape and strangle her.

Her friend intervened, leading to a scuffle in which the accused allegedly pushed the 22-year-old off a steep slope.

The accused then continued his sexual assault of the 21-year-old woman, strangling her with a belt while filming the act.

Interrupted by hikers who stumbled on the crime, he pushed the rape victim down the same slope while she was unconscious.

When mountain rescue workers found the two women, the 22-year-old was injured but able to talk.

The rape victim was seriously injured and taken by helicopter to hospital, where she died later that night from her injuries.

READ ALSO: US tourist dies after assault at famed Bavarian castle

‘Deeply ashamed’

B.’s lawyer said the accused had not planned the attack in advance.

“He was aware that the victim could die without help, yet he still left her behind,” Müller told the court.

His client was “deeply ashamed” about his actions and wished to apologise to the victim’s family, the lawyer added.

B., who hails from the US state of Michigan, spoke only to confirm the accuracy of his lawyer’s statement to the court.

He is not expected to make any further comments during the trial, scheduled to run until March 13th.

Germany’s top-selling daily Bild reported that the rescue operation and his subsequent arrest took place in front of hundreds of tourists.

Built in the 19th century by King Ludwig II, Neuschwanstein castle is one of the most visited sites in Germany, attracting over a million visitors a year.

B. faces up to life in prison if convicted.

B. on Monday also confessed to possession of child pornography, which investigators uncovered as part of their probe into the attack.

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