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Shocking new twist in macabre case of 54 severed hands washed up on Amur River island

By The Siberian Times reporter
09 March 2018

Sinister discovery ‘not criminal’ say Investigative Committee, claiming limbs wrongly disposed of by a forensic lab where stored.

The appears to allude to a little-known procedure in Russia to cut the hands off unknown corpses as a means of retaining fingerprints if needed after burial. 

The hands, severed at the wrist, were found on an island in the Amur, close to Khabarovsk, some 30 kilometres downstream from the Chinese border. 

Most were hidden in a bag which was found on the ice-clad island. 

Lurid theories about the severed limbs - seen as 27 sets of hands - have swept social media.

Was this some bizarre punishment ritual? Or the work of a vicious maniac?

Could the hands have been washed down river from China? Perhaps a Chinese mafia ring was to blame? 

Or were the hands of thieves axed possibly by a ruthless gang in retribution for stealing? 

Chopped hands


Chopped hands

Could the hands have been washed down river from China? Perhaps a Chinese mafia ring was to blame? 

Might the hands have been severed from recently-died corpses which had been plundered for body parts - to hide the identity of victims used in this black market trade?

But now the Investigative Committee, which probes serious crimes in Russia, suggests there was nothing abnormal in storing severed hands - only in the way they were disposed of. 

It says that ‘these biological items (human hands) do not have a criminal background’ - yet it gave little extra detail. 

The appears to allude to a little-known procedure in Russia to cut the hands off unknown corpses as a means of retaining fingerprints if needed after burial. 

The idea is that the hands were stored at a forensic laboratory, and that perhaps they were then disposed of in an inappropriate way for unclear reasons. 

The IC says it is now ‘carrying out checks and studying all the circumstances of this event’.

'According to the results of these checks, a legal judgment will be made on the activities of the forensic experts of Khabarovsk city, who are in charge of utilising the above mentioned items'.

Macabre bag containing 27 pairs of human hands found in bag on Amur River island


Macabre bag containing 27 pairs of human hands found in bag on Amur River island

The hands, severed at the wrist, were found on an island in the Amur, close to Khabarovsk, some 30 kilometres downstream from the Chinese border. 

It is unclear why fingerprints could not be taken from corpses and stored on computer databases.

Local media reported that next to the remains were found medical bandages and hospital-style plastic shoe covers. 

As locals have commented on social media” ‘It’s too early to say there is no criminal intent here.’

Among other social media comments: 

'… the biological items (human hands) do not have criminal background… ? So there is nothing criminal in the fact that hands were cut off from dead bodies for the purpose of taking fingerprints?’

'Yakuza did it, no doubt, their style!' - transnational organised crime syndicates originating in Japan.

'Mysterious story… so there were 26 unidentified bodies? Quite a lot.'

'When you buried your friends or relatives, how often did you see that they did not have limbs? Let’s be honest. Why were these limbs amputated and stored in the same place and later utilised in such an odd way.'

'I wonder if this amputation has a purpose to prevent identification of the dead bodies when they are found… it would be strange to find 26-28 dead bodies without hands. This are surely not medical stuff, with only hands were cut off…'

Comments (13)

Dan, USA - it's not because of the shortage of ink pads and paper.
As expert say - they try to restore skin and fingerprints by special procedure.

Research (fingerprinting) of the bruises of the corpse with separation from the body is carried out in order to establish the identity of the unknown with changes in the skin (usually putrefactive changes, mummification, etc.) using a special technique (techniques). Clipping of brushes is carried out by a forensic doctor on the basis of a resolution of the authorized body (prosecutor's office) without the consent of anyone.
ED, Russia
17/03/2018 01:44
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Right? You cut off hands to preserve the finger prints? Is there a shortage of ink pads and paper in Russia?
Dan, USA
16/03/2018 23:37
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Yet another set of comments excoriating anything that happens in Russia. It was a simple medical procedure to keep the hands in case the finger-prints were ever needed in the future. I live in New Zealand but lived in the Russian Far east for 5 years, so have some insight into what goes on there. Why is it that nearly everybody wants to make negative comments about Russia, you should try reading RT to find out the reason these procedures are done. Some procedures in Russia are far better than what is done in the West for exorbitant prices.
Yan Yanovitch, Auckland New Zealand
15/03/2018 05:12
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Was there any indication as to how long the hands had been frozen?
Rob, Stevenage
13/03/2018 00:51
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Shalamov in Kolyma Tales talks about the practice of soldiers and guards who shoot prisoners (trying to escape from labour camps/or just due to them being trigger happy) and chop off the hands to take fingerprints for identification. That was in 1930s and 40s.
Krish, India
11/03/2018 21:51
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Maybe Vladimir's handy work so some people don't get to vote against him.


Seriously this story is very suspicious...why would that lab just lose these hands...just this one time? Or is there more limbs buried in the ice to be found?!

PS. Time will tell.
Jaker, Dundalk
10/03/2018 13:30
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Well, I'll have to hand it to them.... an interesting find!
Doc, US
10/03/2018 09:10
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That was hands down the handiest story I've ever hand the pleasure of reading. I'm sure it would make a great fiction story from an imaginative soul somewhere: "The 270 fingers of fate," or similar :)
John Weno, Wadeye, Northern Territory, Australia
10/03/2018 02:30
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Deseo que no sea la mano con que se la cascaban estos infelices.La mano tonta.En Rusia pasan cosas muy raras.
Miguel, España
10/03/2018 01:59
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Was es alles so gibt ! Gruß nach Sibirien !
Ich, Deutschland
09/03/2018 19:56
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Seems reasonable that someone at the forensic lab was lazy and pig enough to drop the hands into the river.

Medics tend to loose some sensitivity after dealing with so many corpses. For example here in Mexico my aunt got stunned when my cousin -which at the time studied medicine- brought back home some human bones still with some flesh attached, because her homework was to peel them and had not enough time in the school lab.
Andres Suarez, Mexico
09/03/2018 19:21
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Muslim style.
H2O, Perth, Australia
09/03/2018 14:45
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site is working again.- not found- in the morning. than -found- the article at RBC and now also in an Austrian newspaper. tried to check once more here. and it works. good so!
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
09/03/2018 14:13
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2
1

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