Last week, a group of three men were charged with murdering two mentally-disabled women to sell them as ghost brides. They were captured back in April.
Their first known stint was carried out in February. Two of the men, surnamed Ma and An, vowed to find a mentally-challenged woman a husband. They later killled her with sedative injection.
Eventually, the duo hired a man named Yang to drive the victim’s corpse to Yulin county in Shaanxi Province. As per Shanghaiist, the body was sold for 35,000 yuan, or over $5,200, for use in a local ghost wedding.
The gang did a repeat in April, but this time, things did not turn in their favor. As they drove the victim’s body for another ghost wedding, they were stopped by cops in Wuqi, according to Global Times.
Ma initially claimed that the corpse was a relative. Following investigation, he revealed the woman’s true identity.
Ma was charged with abduction, human trafficking and murder and An with abduction and trafficking. Yang was charged as an accomplice.
Ghost weddings are an outdated Chinese custom where at least one of the partners is dead. It is illegal in the country but is still practiced in rural areas of Henan, Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces.
According to BBC, ghost weddings were carried out for about 3,000 years. This supposedly ensured that the deceased bachelor/bachelorette is not alone in the afterlife. Such weddings originally involved dead pairs, though the custom evolved to include at least one living partner.
Last year, 14 female corpses were stolen from their graves in Shanxi province and allegedly sold as ghost brides.