Volume 78 / Number 2 - June 11 - 17, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

‘BODIES’ bucks deal

The plastic-pumped cadavers displayed at the “BODIES” exhibit in South St. Seaport aren’t just gruesome — they may be illegal.

An investigation by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo unearthed some unsettling facts about the bodies, which come from China. Premier Exhibitions acquires the corpses, unclaimed upon death, indirectly from the Chinese Bureau of Police. Advocacy groups have long said that the bodies come from tortured or executed prisoners, and Premier could not disprove that allegation. Nor could Premier show that the people whose bodies are displayed gave permission for their remains to be so disposed.

Under the settlement Cuomo engineered, anyone who saw the exhibit but wouldn’t have seen it if they’d known the truth about the bodies can get their money back. Anyone can apply for the refund — which could top $25 a person — but the state only required Premier to set aside $50,000 for refunds. Perhaps they’re either counting on people to be honest about not caring where the bodies are from, or (more likely) forgetful about applying for the refund.

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