Prankster who stripped down to his undies and jumped into a Sydney Zoo aquarium to swim with rare fish is also charged with ‘fighting’ EMUS
- Mohammed Ali Khawaja, 30, charged over a dive into Sydney Zoo aquarium
- Richie Chaalan filmed his mate ‘Mak’ swimming, leading to him being charged
- Was also accused of jumping into an emu enclosure and ‘fighting’ with them
- Sydney Zoo vowed to take legal action over the group’s ‘unacceptable’ behaviour
An unrepentant prankster who dived into a zoo aquarium is also accused of breaking into an emu enclosure and fighting with them.
Mohammed Ali Khawaja, 30, was filmed by laughing friends swimming with fish in his boxer shorts at Sydney Zoo on July 27.
The video shot by Richie Chaalan enraged the owners of the zoo in Eastern Creek, western Sydney, they vowed to press charges.
Khawaja pleaded not guilty to three charges in Blacktown Local Court on Thursday, which revealed his alleged mischief wasn’t just aquatic.
Unrepentant prankster Mohammed Ali Khawaja, 30, who dived into a zoo aquarium, is also accused of breaking into an emu enclosure and fighting with them
He is also accused of ‘causing two emus distress by chasing and pretending to fight them’.
‘Mak’, as his friends call him, is charged with behaving in an offensive manner in public, entering an animal enclosure, and entering enclosed land to interfere with a business.
Mr Chaalan made no apologies for the aquarium intrusion, claiming to Daily Mail Australia in July that Sydney Zoo was in the wrong.
He could be heard laughing on the video as his mate Mak swam into view on the viral video.
‘What the f*** is that,’ Mr Chaalan says as he laughs hysterically while the aquarium intruder ducks and dives in and between the fish.
Another friend can also be seen filming Mak’s antics.
Mr Chaalan told Daily Mail Australia the stunt wasn’t planned.
‘My friend is a big fish lover and thought it would be good idea to jump in while we were visiting the zoo,’ he said.
‘We have no regrets and are hoping to do it again.’
Khawaja, 30, was filmed by laughing friends swimming with fish in his boxer shorts at Sydney Zoo on July 27
Khawaja pleaded not guilty to three charges in Blacktown Local Court on Thursday, which revealed his alleged mischief wasn’t just aquatic
He was unfazed about threats of police and legal action and accused Sydney Zoo of animal cruelty.
‘They’re the ones in the wrong by entrapping aquatic life against their will,’ he said.
‘I don’t think they found out yet,’ Mr Chaalan commented online after a friend asked what happened to the aquarium intruder.
‘I can’t believe he done that,’ he captioned the footage.
The video sparked an angry response from Sydney Zoo, which slammed the men involved.
Richie Chaalan filmed his mate Mak swimming in the aquarium at Sydney Zoo (pictured)
Mr Chaalan told Daily Mail Australia Mak is a ‘big fish lover’ who thought it would be good idea to get in the aquarium
‘Your behaviour is unacceptable and completely idiotic,’ the zoo posted online.
‘You are trespassing and we have reported you to the police, who will contact you shortly.
‘Your conduct is offensive. You’ve jumped a safety barrier to get into this position and you have compromised the welfare of our precious animals.
‘Our lawyers and the police will be taking further action.’
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia, Sydney Zoo managing director Jake Burgess described the men’s behaviour as ‘appalling’.
‘This not only jeopardises their own safety but more importantly the welfare of the animals at Sydney Zoo,’ he said.
Khawaja will return to court on February 9.
Sydney Zoo have vowed to take legal action over the group’s ‘unacceptable’ behaviour