A Hong Kong traveler tried to smuggle in more than 1,500 exotic live turtles into the Philippines on Saturday.
“1,529 live exotic turtles were apprehended and turned over by Bureau of Customs NAIA to DENR Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit (DENR-WTMU) on March 3, 2019 at the NAIA Terminal 2, Pasay City.
The 1,529 live turtles (Star Tortoise, Redfoot Tortoise, Sulcata Tortoise, Red-eared Slider live species ) were found inside the left-behind luggage of a certain arriving Filipino passenger from flight PR 311 Hong Kong. The passenger may have been informed of the vigilance of Bureau of Customs against illegal wildlife trade and its penalties, thus leaving the four (4) X-Rayed luggage unclaimed in the arrival area.
Illegal Wildlife Trading is a violation of RA 10863 (Customs Modernization and Tariff Act) and RA 9147 (Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act).”
According to the Bureau of Customs, the luggage was on a flight arriving from Hong Kong. Authorities believe the passenger who owned the luggage, may have been tipped off how serious the offense and abandoned the baggage. Four bags were filled with the animals.
In 2018, the Port turned over 560 wildlife and endangered species of 250 geckos, 254 corals and other reptiles to DENR which were apprehend through air parcels, baggage and shipments.
Illegal trade is punishable up to two years in prison and accompanying fines.