Customs bureau foils smuggling of wildlife species

Rappler.com
Customs bureau foils smuggling of wildlife species

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7 packages bound for Taiwan contain 123 Chinese softshell turtles mixed with live eels, says the Bureau of Customs

MANILA, Philippines – Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) foiled the smuggling of some wildlife species out of the country on Friday, November 10. 

In a statement on Saturday, November 11, the BOC said 7 packages bound for Taiwan via China Airlines flight CI-704 contained 123 Chinese softshell turtles mixed with live eels.

Through profiling and manual examination of its Export Division, the BOC “was able to intercept the shipment of 3H Enterprises Ltd,” said Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña.

The shipper’s address is located in Guiguinto, Bulacan, while consignee Jan Birt Company Ltd is reportedly based in Zhongsheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan.

The export of the turtles, allegedly from Pampanga, did not have the required permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

ANTI-SMUGGLING. Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña (front, 2nd from left) and DENR officials hold a seized turtle and some of its eggs. Photo from Bureau of Customs PIAD

“These turtles, aside from being endemic to China and Taiwan, can also be farmed. They are usually harvested for food and folk remedy tonics. However, [since] it is a regulated export, a permit from the DENR must be secured first prior to exportation,” explained NAIA District Collector Ramon Anquilan.

The DENR is still determining the market value of the turtles, said the BOC. 

More smuggling foiled

Last month, the BOC’s Enforcement and Security Service also intercepted the smuggling of outbound wildlife species in coordination with the DENR and other Customs offices.

On October 26, they seized one pit viper, 4 Philippine cobras, and 10 sailfin lizards from a package bound for Sweden. It was initially declared as containing pastries.

The consignee was reportedly indicated as Waldemar Timotheus of Sjobo, Sweden, while the shipper was named Arvin Tuyay of San Pablo City, Laguna, according to documents.

Then on October 30, 7 pit vipers in a parcel bound for China were intercepted via X-ray examination. A certain James Ryan Salcedo of Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, was said to be the shipper, while a certain Li Sheng with address in Guandong, China, was the consignee.

All seized wildlife species were turned over to the DENR, said the BOC. – Michael Bueza / Rappler.com

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