A Filipino man who flew home from Cambodia said he was carrying live fish in his carryon luggage, until a check of the bag at Manila airport revealed three half-meter (1.5-foot) long crocodiles, officials said Wednesday.
The head of the Manila International Airport Authority said it wasn't clear how Enrique Yu Castillo, 50, was able to carry the Siamese crocodiles from Phnom Penh to Singapore to Manila on Monday night.
The crocodiles are on an endangered species list and their importation is prohibited, airport manager Alfonso Cusi said in a statement.
He said charges were being readied against Castillo, while the reptiles were turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Castillo had earlier sought a permit to import the exotic animals but his application was denied, said Teddy Aguir, from the environment department's Wildlife Traffic Monitoring unit at the airport.