Here’s a new one. By Aqeel Hussein and Colin Freeman in the Telegraph, with thanks to Davida:
BAGHDAD – Criminals in Baghdad are stealing corpses from the scenes of car bombings and killings in order to extract ransoms from grieving relatives.
In a macabre offshoot of the capital’s kidnapping epidemic, the gangs pose as medics collecting bodies to be taken back to the city’s overflowing morgues.
Instead, they take the corpses to secret places and demand payments of up to $5,000 to release each body to relatives for burial. Because Muslim custom dictates that a body must be buried as soon as possible after death, many families simply pay up, rather than involve the police.
“We have seen 40 families to whom this has happened, where people said that they have had to pay money to receive bodies,” said Dr. Mohammed al-Nasrawi, an official at the Baghdad city morgue.