A Japanese female college student has been detained in Thailand on suspicion of attempting to smuggle 10 baby otters out of the country without permission, Thai police said Tuesday.

The otters were found in a basket inside the woman's suitcase at Don Mueang International Airport late Sunday as she was about to leave the country with them on a Tokyo-bound flight.

She was quoted as telling police interrogators, "I did not know that it was illegal."

The suspect said she saw the otters being sold in a Bangkok market for 1,000 baht (about ¥3,400) each, felt sorry for them and decided to take them home with her, according to the police.

Local media, citing police, identified her as Kaede Yamaguchi, a 22-year-old, fourth-year university student who arrived in Thailand last Friday.

She has reportedly been charged with unauthorized possession of protected wildlife.