HONG KONG — A man in southwest China gave security officers a shock when he was found at a bus station with two human arms packed in his luggage, Chinese media reported.
The 50-year-old man was caught with the limbs when he put his bag through a security scanner in Duyun in Guizhou province last week, a news website linked to the Chongqing Morning Post reported.
Security staff thought he may have been involved in a murder and immediately detained him.
The man later explained that his older brother had been electrocuted and had to have his arms amputated.
Since it was his village's custom to bury the whole body in death, his brother asked him to carry his amputated arms back to his home so they could be stored.
Police verified the man's account with the hospital where his brother was undergoing further treatment.
Various permits are needed from the authorities in China to transport human body parts.
Employees at the bus station were quoted as saying that travellers are banned from carrying body parts on buses, even with all the necessary permits, to protect the safety and hygiene of passengers.
The man will have to find another way to transport the amputated arms back to his hometown, local media reported.
Traditional Chinese culture stipulates that the whole body needs to be cremated or buried.
This preserves the body's connection to place and family, according to the Journal of Chinese Studies. SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST