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Traveler tried smuggling 1,500 exotic live turtles into Philippines

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A passenger flying into New York from Georgetown, Guyana, was caught with 70 live birds in a carry-on bag. Veuer’s Sam Berman has the full story.
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A passenger traveling from Hong Kong tried to smuggle more than 1,500 exotic live turtles into the Philippines on Sunday.

“The confiscated 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 (Philippine Airlines) flight number PR 311 Hong Kong,” according to a press release from the Bureau of Customs at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the Philippines.

More: Man caught trying to smuggle 4 kittens at Malaysia-Singapore border by hiding them in his pants

The 1,529 live turtles were worth approximately $87,000. Customs turned them over to the DENR Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit on Sunday, according to similar Facebook post about the incident.

The press release added: “The passenger may have been informed of the vigilance of the port against illegal wildlife trade and its penalties, thus leaving the four (4) X-rayed luggage unclaimed in the arrival area.”

Illegal wildlife trading violates several laws in the Philippines and could result in up to two years in prison, as well as a fine of roughly between $386 and $3,860.

More: Traveler caught trying to smuggle 70 live birds through JFK in hair rollers

The Bureau of Customs added: “In 2018, the Port also turned over to DENR a total of 560 wildlife and endangered species including… 250 geckos, 254 corals and other reptiles which were smuggled through air parcels, baggage and shipments. Earlier this year, 63 Iguanas, Chameleon and Bearded Dragons were also intercepted through the efforts and vigilance of the frontliners and operatives of Customs NAIA.”

More: Passenger caught trying to smuggle leopard cub into India by hiding animal in checked bag

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Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2019/03/04/traveler-1-500-exotic-live-turtles-into-philippines-luggage-airport/3053422002/


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