Authorities at airports need to be extremely vigilant. A lot of people try to bring strange things to and from various countries. Sometimes this can be as simple as fruit or other food that is not allowed past the border. Other times it could be something like drugs or other possession that are purposely being smuggled across the border. In Manila airport in the Philippines, border security agents at customs found something that certainly did not belong in their suitcase.
Airport security agents found 1,500 exotic turtles worth tens of thousands of dollars destined for the black market. The animals were wrapped in duct tape and packed like Lego blocks into various suitcases from the airport in Hong Kong.
The airport customs agents found the turtles when they put the bags through the X-ray machine at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
One passenger owned all the bags, which included a whole lot of the turtles. The traveler was trying to get to the Philippines across the water from Hong Kong. In the batch of rare turtles, they found one star, redfoot and sulcata tortoises as well as red-eared terrapins, which are worth as much a 4.5 million Filipino pesos on the black market.
The traveler who brought the bags were from the Philippines. They left the bags unclaimed in the arrivals area. They probably knew the customs agents were onto them or someone was supposed to pick them up. If they are located, they could face up to a year in prison. They could also face a multi-thousand-dollar fine.
The customs agents found 1,529 living animals in the suitcases.
Officials in Manila are always on the lookout for smugglers taking wild animals through their port of entry. In 2018, authorities found 560 wildlife and endangered species that included 250 geckos and 254 corals. They found these animals in various bags and shipments. The airport authorities also found 63 iguanas, chameleon, and bearded dragons this year alone.
The recently apprehended animals were turned over to the Bureau of Customs NAIA to the Philippines Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit. This was a serious offense that could have endangered the lives of more than 1,500 rare animals. Thankfully airport security in Manila is at the top of their game and knew how to spot these creatures before they were bought and sold on the black market.
Readers on Daily Mail were outraged that these smugglers were trying to bring these animals across the border.
“That’s just outrageous to submit these poor animals to such horrible torture and stress! They deserve a stiff imprisonment on that basis alone. The species in question however are no endangered nor on any CITES list as endangered and are legally and freely traded in Hong Kong pet sores and most in the UK too.”
“How cute are they!! This person needs to go to prison.”
“They need to really come down hard on animal trafficking as well as human trafficking. Both need to become a priority.”
What is your reaction to this massive cross-border smuggling attempt?