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OFFBEAT

Farmer who hacked off right hand in insurance scam is jailed in Spain

A farmer in Castellón cut off his right hand and staged a car accident to rake in the insurance money.

Farmer who hacked off right hand in insurance scam is jailed in Spain
Stock image of a male right hand. Photo: Biswarup Ganguly / Wikimedia Commons.

Castellón's provincial court sentenced the man to four years in prison as well as a fine of €3,000, on top of the  €335,000 in insurance money that he will be forced to repay.

According to the court sentence announced on Wednesday, the farmer was having financial troubles in 2007, struggling to pay off his mortgage so he came up with an elaborate plan to cash in on insurance policies.

In the early hours of December 10th of that year, he took a sharp blade and hacked off his own right hand, entirely with the intent “to collect the insurance” the court wrote, adding that it was unclear whether he had had assistance in the amputation or had managed it alone.

According to court papers seen by The Local, the man from the rural region of Castellón in eastern Spain then applied a tourniquet to stem the bleeding, got in his car and drove to a point where there was a curve in the road. 

He swerved off, landing the car “”practically perpendicular” in an orange grove, and then carefully staged an accident by placing his severed hand in the footwell and torching the car with some petrol he had brought with him.

The man, identified in the local newspaper Las Provincias as Miguel B.P., 42, of Nules, then called emergency services and when police and firefighters arrived at the scene was found calmly “smoking a cigar”.

The farmer went to eight different insurance companies to collect compensation.

“Yes, it's unusual – a bit unusual,” a spokeswoman from the Spanish General Council of the Judiciary told The Local. “You do see cases like this sometimes, but not regularly.”

An insurance salesman in Germany was found guilty in 2014 of insurance fraud after he sawed off his own finger and thumb to collect what would have been €1.4 million in payouts.

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OFFBEAT

Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.

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