All you need to know about Iberian America

Latin Americans Cutting the Hands of Thieves

Published October 1, 2022 in Health & Safety - 0 Comments

Here in Latin America, sometimes "justice" works in different ways than back home.

As I wrote here, we have the case of people being lynched in public after being accused of crimes like stealing, kidnapping children, etc.

Though sometimes the accused are not always guilty of their crimes and they get lynched anyhow.

Sometimes with 5 police officers trying to save the accused and seemingly against a crowd of 100.

Another form of punishment that you hear about down here is cutting off the hands of the criminals in question.

Especially if they are thieves.

As you can see here, there was some politician in Mexico that made public comments demanding for the hands of thieves to be cut off.

And, if we were to look more into Mexico, we'd find other examples of such behavior either encouraged or engaged in.

Though it's not just Mexico where this happens within Latin America.

Let's get through some examples to show you what I mean.

The Elite Mexican Group Cutting Off Hands

The first example I can find online is this one here in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

Specifically in an area called Tlaquepaque, there was some group identified as having been pursuing thieves and cutting their hands off.

They would beat the thieves also and, at least in one case, killed the guy.

While leaving the bodies in public with messages on their bodies saying stuff like "I am a thief" or "this is what happens to us for being thieves."

And, based on my brief research into this, it seems like there are so many more stories that come out of Mexico regarding this topic than most other Latin American countries. Here's another article I found of 7 thieves having their hands cut off in Mexico.

But let's look now at some other Latin American countries.

Cutting the Hands Off in Colombia

There seems to be a case of a thief using his hands that went public in the Colombian city of Cali as you can read one article out of many here

Seems to be just a basic case of some random dude suspected of robbing someone else being taken away and having his hand cut off by a machete.

He was then taken to a hospital and the police began investigating it.

No Love for Thieves in Chile

Next, we have an example in Chile as you can see here.

According to the article, there was a Chinese citizen in Chile that cut the hand of a thief with a machete that had tried robbing some of his stuff.

It apparently happened on August 15, 2021 in the Chilean city of Recoleta.

The owner of the business asked the thief to return some of his stuff but, after the thief refused to do so, the owner cut his hand off.

Here's some paragraphs that conclude the story from that same article:

"Los testigos han explicado que, a continuación, el supuesto ladrón fue capaz de conducir su propia camioneta hasta el hospital con la esperanza de que le pudieran reconstruir la mano, pero sin éxito. Mientras, la policía se dio cita en la tienda para detener al propietario, Xianjun Wang, de 31 años, origen chino y que se encontraría de forma irregular en Chile.

El abogado de Wang alegó ante el juez que su cliente se había defendido del ataque con un hacha del supuesto ladrón, aunque el magistrado no ha atendido a su petición de dejarlo en libertad. Permanecerá al menos 70 días en prisión, el tiempo que, en principio, durará la investigación que ha comenzado para determinar lo sucedido."

Justice in Paraguay

Finally, we have another incident happening in Paraguay as you can read here

Similar to Mexico, it seems there is some group of vigilantes in Paraguay that are focused on defending their community.

And, in the case of the article, they tortured, killed and cut the hands off some thief that captured.

They also left some note on the dead body calling for an end to robberies along some border that Paraguay has. 

The incident happened in some Paraguayan city called Pedro Juan Caballero that happens to be next to the Brazilian border.

How did I guess accurately that it must've been on the Brazilian border?

The group is called Justicieros de la Frontera.

Here's a paragraph from the article on what happened to the thief:

"Medios locales de la capital departamental amambaiense sostienen que la víctima presentaba el corte de las dos manos y sus pies estaban esposados. Además presentaba heridas en el rostro, cuello y abdómen, posiblemente rastros de que fue torturado."

Anything to Add?

To be honest, I don't really have much of an opinion on the topic anyhow.

I don't see it as the worst form of punishment -- stole something? Lose your hands!

Now try stealing with your feet instead.

Reminds me of this clip here from the movie Casino where one of the hustlers has his right hand broken by a hammer after being caught skimming a casino.

At any rate, it is what it is.

Just a certain detail to certain areas of Latin America where this practice is engaged in by just some of the locals.

If you got anything to add, drop a comment below.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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