Three men in northwestern China have been arrested for killing two women and selling their bodies as “ghost brides,” Thepaper.cn reports.
One suspect Ma Chonghua, who is in his 60s, allegedly killed the two women with lethal injections after abducting them from their homes in Gansu province, the report said.
He then sold their corpses in nearby Shaanxi province with the help of two other suspects.
An old belief that it is bad luck for people to die unmarried is still popular in rural parts of northwestern China, the report said.
It is illegal to sell or buy corpses, but the practice is still common in some places, where people arrange weddings for their dead family members to prevent misfortune.
Ma took his first victim, a 47-year-old woman with mental illness, from her home in April, after telling her mother he would find the daughter a husband.
On the Ching Ming Festival, the day people pay tribute to the dead, Ma sold the woman’s body for 40,200 yuan (HK$46,800) to Liu Fengxiang in a village in Shaanxi.
Liu was looking for a bride for his younger brother, who died in a car accident two years ago, at the age of 67.
Before paying the money, Liu and other family members, removed the clothes from the corpse to make sure it was a real body.
“Many people thought my brother was too old for their (dead) daughters,” Liu said. “The older female corpses were already married, so I had not been able to settle my brother’s marriage.”
About 10 days later, Ma allegedly killed a 60-year-old woman in the same way.
The suspects were stopped by police when they were transporting the body of the second victim.
The stealing of corpses to sell them for ghost marriages have also been reported in other northwestern provinces.
Residents in Liu’s village told reporters that it was a necessity to find a wife for men who died after the age of 13.