Eleven men have been arrested in connection with the macabre practise of ghost weddings after they were discovered to have exhumed a woman’s body in rural China and sold it to a middleman for tens of thousands of yuan.
The dead woman was dug up from a village grave in Shangdong province in March, three months after she died, and eventually sold to the family of a dead bachelor for 38,000 yuan, according to the South China Morning Post.
Identified only by the surname Wang, the lead suspect explained the fresher the bodies the better price they commanded.
“Years-old carcasses are not worth a damn, while the ones that have just died, like this one, are valuable,” Wang said in a clip aired on Shangdong Radio and Television.
The enterprise was uncovered during a police raid on a gang of electronic bicycle thieves. After questioning, they revealed they also had another highly illegal branch of business.
The group, if charged with stealing and insulting a corpse, face up to three years in jail.
The practise of ‘Ghost weddings’ has largely disappeared from urban China, however, some remote villages still believe it is vital for an unmarried individual to marry. The ceremony will ensure the prosperity of the surviving family and spare the dead from an afterlife without a spouse.
A number of cases have been reported in recent years. In 2009 a father paid a team of grave robbers 33,000 yuan to find a bride for his son, who had died in a car crash. The grave robbers were later discovered exhuming the remains of a teenage girl who had committed suicide after failing her college entrance exam.
A darker incidence occurred in 2011, when a Shaanxi man was impatient to wait for a natural death. He murdered a pregnant woman in order to sell her body to a family for 22,000 yuan. He was later convicted and sentenced to death.Reuse content