Breaking! Over 1,500 Live Exotic Turtles Found Inside Airport Luggage In The Philippines After Arriving From Hong Kong

Photo From Bureau of Customs NAIA Facebook Page

1,529 live exotic turtles valued at 4.5 Million Pesos (USD $86,874) were seized yesterday by the Bureau of Customs – Port of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and were turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit in Pasay City, Philippines.

The confiscated turtles (Star Tortoise, Redfoot Tortoise, Sulcata Tortoise, and Red-eared Sliders) were found inside luggage that was left behind by a passenger from flight number PR 311 Hong Kong.

According to a Facebook post by the Bureau of Customs NAIA, the passenger may have been informed of the vigilance of the port against illegal wildlife trade and its penalties, thus leaving the four bags of x-rayed luggage unclaimed in the arrival area.

Illegal Wildlife Trading is a violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

Violators may face imprisonment of 1-2 years and a fine of 20,000 pesos (USD $400) to 200,000 pesos (USD $3,853).

In 2018, the Port also turned over to DENR a total of 560 wildlife and endangered species, including 250 geckos, 254 pieces of coral, and other reptiles which were smuggled through air parcels, baggage and shipments.

Earlier this year, 63 Iguanas, Chameleons and Bearded Dragons were also intercepted through the efforts and vigilance of the frontliners and operatives of Customs NAIA.

Bureau of Customs NAIA is determined to continuously protect the borders against importation and exportation of the illegal wildlife trade and other prohibited goods.

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