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A red panda was discovered hidden in the suspect's checked luggage. Image Credit: AFP

Bangkok: Thai customs officials have arrested six Indians for attempting to smuggle a red panda and 86 other animals out of the kingdom, including snakes, parrots and monitor lizards, officials said Wednesday.

The illicit menagerie was discovered hidden in the suspects' checked luggage at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport as they tried to fly to Mumbai.

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"We have found out that the animals include 29 black throat monitor lizards, 21 snakes, 15 birds, including parrots - a total of 87 animals. The animals were hidden inside the luggage," the Customs Department said in a statement.

Photos released by the department showed the red panda - an endangered species - peeking out of a wicker basket, and a parrot shut in a plastic container with air holes crudely drilled in the lid.

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A cotton-top tamarin monkey that was rescued after being found in the luggage of a group of Indian nationals attempting to travel to Mumbai. Image Credit: AFP

More plastic tubs held lizards, while snakes were seen coiled together in cloth bags.

The suspects face a maximum of 10 years in jail or four times the amount of import duties.

Last month a Mongolian man was arrested at the same airport for trying to smuggle Komodo dragons, pythons and two dozen live fish out of the kingdom.