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Kuala Lumpur -
Malaysian authorities have filed criminal charges against a 40-year-old man who was caught with the carcasses of four leopards and a tiger near the country's border with Thailand, a state wildlife official said on Friday.
The suspect was arrested on Monday in Tumpat town in Kelantan province, after wildlife and customs officials discovered the carcasses in the boot of his car during an inspection, according to the source who asked not to be named because he has no authority to talk about the case.
Tigers and leopards are both listed as protected species under Malaysian law, and those caught in possession of these animals are culpable under the country's Wildlife Conservation Act.
If convicted, the suspect could be sentenced to up to 25 years' imprisonment or fined up to 759 000 dollars, the official added.
The official said the carcasses were apparently intended to be smuggled into Thailand, where there is high demand for the meats of exotic animals. - Sapa-dpa