Despite its relatively low population, Antarctica has been host to some serious crimes over the years. The continent has never had a permanent population, though research stations have been in action in various locations in Antarctica for well over a century now. Comprised of a few thousand scientists and researchers, the regular human presence requires essential services such as doctors, shops, and law enforcement, and where there are humans, crime tends to follow. Antarctica is no exception.
“Some of the continent’s most infamous cases remain unsolved to this day”
With Antarctic researchers taking very few belongings with them, theft and other petty crimes are extremely rare. So, on the rare occasion that crimes do occur on the polar desert it’s usually a big deal. According to the Antarctic Treaty, 53 nations (it’s a long story) agreed that criminals on the continent should be tried by their own country’s jurisdiction. That being said, some of the continent’s most infamous cases remain unsolved to this day. Here’s a quick look at the history of crime in Antarctica.
The Bellingshausen Station Stabbing
Spoilers can be a big deal for some people. For some, in fact, ruining the ending of a story could (allegedly) be enough to tip someone over the edge. See the case of Oleg Beloguzov and his short stint at the Bellingshausen Station on Antartica’s King George Island.
“In October 2018, Beloguzov was stabbed in the chest multiple times by Sergey Savitsky”
In October 2018, Beloguzov was stabbed in the chest multiple times by Sergey Savitsky (a drunken colleague of just six months). The two men in their early 50s were reported to have been clashing in the months leading up to the attack, and some sources report that the final straw was when Beloguzov started spoiling the endings of books which Savitsky had taken out from the research station’s library.
Down there on ‘The Ice’, forms of entertainment can run pretty dry so it’s easy to see why spoilers could clearly be a big deal. Alternative reports of the incident claim that Beloguzov was stabbed after poking fun at Savitsky, telling him to dance on the dining room table in public for money. Of course, neither of these scenarios justify physical violence and Savitsky recognised this. Surrendering himself, Savitsky was flown out of the continent and prepared for a remorseful court hearing in Saint Petersburg. After treatment at a Chilean hospital, Beloguzov survived the attack and forgave his colleague, with the case being dropped shortly after Savitsky’s hearing.