The price of a “tuko” or tokay gecko (Part 2); or “Tuko” and Tokay Gecko Scams

A week ago, I posted a blog “The price of a “tuko” or tokay gecko” about my Filpino father’s handyman fattening up a tokay gecko to 300 grams so he can sell it for PhP600,000.  The price, to me, seemed an outrageously huge amount for a loudmouth, but oh so cool, pet. So I went online to look at prices for this lizard.  It turns out that they don’t sell for that much.  And that most of the prices on buy-and-sell ads for tokays are hyped up, or worse, they are part of a scam.

Anyone can fall victim to the tuko scam. A posting on a blog, TJSDaily, explains in detail a scam scenario.  But basically here is how it goes:

ConArtist #1 either posts an ad, or mentions casually to would-be victim, that he wants to buy a 300 gram, or heavier, tokay.  He cites an outrageously large amount that he’s willing to pay for it, and leaves his cellphone number.  Potential victim doesn’t have a tokay, but informs ConArtist 1 that he’ll keep an out eye for one.

Enter ConArtist #2, ConArtist #1’s accomplice, who’s selling a tokay for a large sum, but still a small fraction compared to what ConArtist 1 is offering.  Wanting to make a huge profit, victim contacts ConArtist 1 saying he has the tokay.  Victim buys tokay from ConArtist#2.  Both ConArtists #1 and #2 disappear, their cellphones disconnected.  Victim is left with a worthless merchandise.

This modus operandi is nothing new, and not unique to tokays.  Four years ago, a rich widow had been scammed millions using the same M.O. but involving supposedly expensive pearl oyster feed.  Both buyer and seller disappeared after the widow paid the seller.  The packaged “feed” was actually liver pate or spread.

Scams and scammers come in all shapes and sizes.  The lesson here is if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

2 Responses to The price of a “tuko” or tokay gecko (Part 2); or “Tuko” and Tokay Gecko Scams

  1. I don’t know if we guys should be happy or not in this curenrt Gecko Trade Craziness, a long time ago these lizards can live there in the wild freely without any direct purpose in uplifting the suffering of the sick people. I can still remember when I was young, my uncle kill this lizards because they always create noises. Why do you think that the government agencies are now also interested and are now focusing their efforts to stop and imprison those people who are involve in this kind of trade and take the lizards to their so called care ? because it is illegal? because if they become extinct their can be a big problem in the environment? are they the only one’s who eat insects? if a community can have a lot of them, is there any chance that manila can lower its cases of dengue victims? guys this lizards are not yet endangered species.. Or maybe because it can also give them a lot of money too. As of now DENR and other government agencies focus their energy to catch those people who are involve in this business instead of securing the sea, from illegal fishing and the forest, from illegal logging? Why? Money talks. Just like this cases: Gambling is illegal, isn’t it? why lotto is legal? because the government allow it, therefore it is now a legal because it gives money to the government. Cigarette and alcoholic drinks for some country are prohibited, why? because it doesn’t have any positive effect to the society, specially when in terms of public health. This supposed to be illegal items. Why is it legal? It generates billions of pesos for the government in the form of taxes. The system is like a stinking garbage as you can see.

    • I wonder why the tokay gecko is being sold at high price for its so cellad medicinal value to cure aids and cancer, and some people even offer to buy at 1 million ringgit for a gecko weigh 1000 grams which I am not sure whether it will ever reach that size. i think the activities should be stamped out as many villagers locally are out hunting geckos instead of doing what they should do to carry out their normal living.

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