Pants Full of Birds Wind Dong Behind Bars


Sony Dong's amazing (but illegal) musical socks. (AP Photo/Department of Justice)

Leggings covered with live, pooping exotic birds: They're not good fashion sense and, as it turns out, they're not the best way to smuggle rare Vietnamese wildlife into the United States.

According to National Geographic News, 46-year-old Sonny Dong learned this lesson the hard way Wednesday when he was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and charged with conspiracy. Dong was flagged for inspection anyway, due to a past bird-smuggling incident, but what really tipped airport security off was the suspicious amount of feathers and bird poo coming out of his pants legs.

Dong was allegedly bringing the dozen or so rare birds into the states to sell them as pets at an estimated price tag of $400 each. While this might seem like a victimless crime to some of you*, this is exactly the sort of thing that can and has wrecked havoc on natural environments. You may call it a harmless pet, but everyone else might wind up knowing it as an invasive species. According to the New Yorker's Burkhard Bilger, Florida is already rife with this sort of thing, due to the historic introduction of various food crops, exotic pets and -- yes -- hurricane-sprung zoo escapees.

In the words of Swamp Thing (the crappy TV version, not the awesome Alan Moore-penned version), "Do not bring your evil here!"

As for the smuggled birds, most are expected to be served up in the LAX food court by the end of the week. Kidding! The AP reports that they'll likely wind up in a zoo.

* And for those people, seriously, the next time you fly, try traveling inside Sonny Dong's pants leg.

Find out what else not to stick up your trousers at HowStuffWorks.com: How Extinction Works How Airports Work How Airport Security Works


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.