World News

Creepy cargo: Philippines seizes 757 tarantulas from Poland

A staff of the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources shows one of the 757 Tarantulas kept inside plastic containers at their office in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
Aaron Favila | AP

Philippine customs officials were astonished when they opened nicely gift-wrapped boxes of cookies and oatmeal flown in all the way from Poland and found a hair-raising contraband: hundreds of live tarantulas.

Bureau of Customs personnel seized the 757 tarantulas at a mail exchange center near Manila's international airport Monday and later arrested a Filipino man who tried to claim the long-legged and venomous spiders, which were declared as "collection items."

Many of the baby tarantulas were concealed in small plastic vials punctured with holes for air while bigger spiders were shipped in see-through plastic containers. Officials estimated the value of the unusual shipment at 310,000 pesos ($5,900).

Philippine wildlife laws prohibit the trading, collection and possession of such spiders, which are popular pets among arachnid enthusiasts, without permits.

Despite threats of hefty fines and imprisonment, a startling array of wildlife have been seized by the hundreds by airport customs inspectors in Manila since last year, including geckos, iguanas, chameleons and a popular reptile called bearded dragons.

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Asia-Pacific News

Jho Low's 1MDB-linked superyacht is selling for $126 million

Key Points
  • A superyacht allegedly bought with stolen money from Malaysia's controversial state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is set to be sold at a discounted price of $126 million to Genting, The Star Online reported on Wednesday.
  • Malaysia had initially expected the seized yacht to be sold for at least $130 million — approximately half of its original cost — but failed to do so by its March 31 deadline.
  • In the last eight months, the Malaysian government has spent 14.5 million Malaysian ringgit ($3.55 million) on upkeeping Equanimity, according to the paper.