In August, we reported that the state of Maine had impounded the Koi from a Chinese restaurant belonging to Cuong Ly in Freeport. Game wardens said the big goldfish were an invasive species and hence, illegal in Maine.
Mr. Ly said the Koi were a symbol of good luck, and that he would try to get his fish back.
This week, after a lengthy court battle and $20,000, the Maine attorney general's office agreed a settlement. Mr. Ly has been reunited with his fish — which he says are good luck — and now has a five-year permit for them. He's even allowed to display them in public, but he must post a notice saying the Koi are illegal in Maine and could harm the ecosystem if released.
Mr. Ly insists every penny of the fight was worth it. He says that his luck was beginning to run out — his heating and cooling were failing, and he even fell down the stairs. But since he got his fish back, business has been up. People are stopping by just to see the Koi. And in a jar next to the fish, he's even collected $100 in donations toward covering the legal costs.