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BOC seizes 5 shipments of black ants

Rudy Santos - The Philippine Star
BOC seizes 5 shipments of black ants
Black ants in specimen tubes are collected for inventory in a photo released by the Bureau of Customs on Monday.
Bureau of Customs

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has confiscated five shipments of black ants misdeclared as children’s toys at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

In a statement on Monday, the BOC said customs officers discovered three shipments bound for France, Singapore and Italy at the DHL warehouse.

The ants were placed in 21 small cups and 21 specimen tubes concealed in Lego boxes and declared as “Lego kids’ toys.”

Two similar shipments, sent by Gio Shin from Poland to resident of Valenzuela City, arrived in December 2021 and January and were intercepted at the Central Mail Exchange Center. They held black ants in 375 specimen tubes.

BOC-NAIA district collector Mimel Talusan said the importation and exportation of non-native black ants are strictly prohibited due to the danger they pose to human health and the environment.

She said studies in China show that non-native black ants are carriers of viruses, bacteria and diseases inimical to local ecology, agriculture and forestry.

The BOC-NAIA turned over the shipments to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and subjected to seizure and forfeiture proceedings for violating the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act and the Customs Modernization Act.

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