‘You wanna have a crack brah?’ Bizarre moment prankster jumps into an enclosure to shadowbox an emu at Sydney Zoo after roaring at lions
- Mohammed Ali Khawaja, 30, was fined over pranks at Sydney Zoo aquarium
- Richie Chaalan filmed his mate ‘Mak’ swimming with fish, later posted online
- Khawaja also charged with jumping into emu enclosure for Instagram video
A prankster who swam dived into a zoo aquarium to swim with rare fish and entered an enclosure to shadowbox a distressed emu has been fined $500.
Mohammed Ali Khawaja, 31, pleaded guilty at Blacktown Local Court on Thursday to two charges over his antics at the Sydney Zoo in July last year.
He was originally charged with behaving in an offensive manner in public, entering an animal enclosure and entering enclosed lands to interfere with a business, but the third charge was withdrawn, the Blacktown Advocate reported.
Mohammed Ali Khawaja was charged with multiple offences after the prankster (pictured) was filmed ‘shadow boxing’ an emu in late July last year at a zoo in Sydney’s west
The video, taken on the same day as the aquarium incident, shows Khawaja attempting to ‘shadow box’ the emu.
His friend, Richie Chaalan, filmed the encounter on his phone before sharing it on social media.
‘He (the emu) was staunching up, I’m telling you,’ the narrator can be heard saying in the clip as Khawaja throws a series of mock punches.
‘The boys are here now … you wanna have a crack brah?’
Chaalan and Khawaja also were verbally warned on the same day not to provoke the lions – after roaring at the beasts repeatedly.
In 2020, Chaalan told Daily Mail Australia the aquarium stunt – which saw Khawaja swim in his boxer shorts with the rare fish – wasn’t planned.
‘My friend (Khawaja) 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.’
He also accused Sydney Zoo of animal cruelty at the time.
‘They are the ones in the wrong by entrapping aquatic life against their will,’ Chaalan said.
The video sparked an furious response from Sydney Zoo, who slammed the two men involved.
Khawaja originally pleaded not guilty to the charges in Blacktown Local Court, which revealed his alleged mischief wasn’t just aquatic
Richie Chaalan filmed his mate ‘Mak’ illegally swimming in the aquarium at Sydney Zoo last year (pictured)
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia at the time, 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.
Michael Ayache, Khawaja’s defence lawyer, told the court on Thursday his client was simply ‘being a larrikin.’
‘It was in jest. Whilst there are arguable matters, it is accepted there is no point dragging this on any further,’ he said.
Magistrate Alex Mijovich urged Khawaja to ‘have some common sense’ before issuing him a fine of $500.
Khawaja raised $1,300 on a GoFundMe page titled ‘Free Aqua Man’ he set up to fund his defence.
Unrepentant prankster Mohammed Ali Khawaja, 30, who dived into a zoo aquarium, was also charged with breaking into an emu enclosure and fighting with them