A gang in the remote Peruvian jungle has allegedly been killing people for their fat, draining it from their corpses and offering it on the black market for use in cosmetics, police have said.
Peruvian police say they have arrested three members of a gang who murdered a string of peasant farmers, drained the fat from their dead bodies, and then attempted to sell it to European cosmetics manufacturers.
The men have confessed to a total of five killings, but are suspected of dozens more. Police believe they approached their victims on remote roads and lured them to a hut in the jungle with talk of being able to introduce them to a potential employer. Instead, the victims were bludgeoned to death.
Each of their bodies then had its head, arms and legs cut off. Major organs were removed, and discarded, before the torso was suspended from hooks in the ceiling of the hut. Candles were placed beneath, so that melting fat would dribble into pots, pans and other collecting vessels.
Suspects allegedly told police the bottles of liquid fat they had when arrested were worth $21,000 a litre. But medical experts expressed scepticism that a major market existed for fat. Peru's police chief of the anti- kidnapping squad, Colonel Jorge Mejia, said the suspects said the fat was sold to intermediaries in Lima, the Peruvian capital.
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