Security officials immediately detained the man — who goes by the last name Zheng — on the suspicion that he may be involved with murder, the Chongqing Morning Post reported.
The murder theory was quickly debunked when Zheng explained to security staff that he was simply transporting his older brother's limbs back to his village, in accordance with the traditional Chinese custom that all body parts should be buried or cremated together at death. According to the Journal of Chinese Studies, burying someone as a "whole" preserves the connection to place and family during the afterlife.
Zheng further explained that when his brother had to have his arms amputated as a result of accidental electrocution, he had requested that his arms be taken home for storage.
Before freeing Zheng, police confirmed his explanation with the hospital where his brother was being treated.
Human body parts cannot be transported in China without specific permits issued by authorities. Bus station employees at the scene also claimed that body parts were banned on buses, even with authorized permits, for safety and hygienic reasons.
The well-armed traveler will most likely not face any criminal charges, but may have to pay an arm and a leg in fines, according to an official at a local police station.