Weddings of the dead

Ming Hun or spirit marriages — a dying tradition practised by the Taoist Chinese — for the departed, usually involving two dead people.

Women murdered to be sold as brides for dead sons in afterlife

BEIJING: Chinese police have arrested a man they say killed six women so he could sell their bodies for superstitious "weddings of the dead".

The man, identified only as Song, was part of a network supplying "ghost brides" to families seeking afterlife spouses for dead sons, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

Arranged marriages for the dead are an ancient tradition in China. The custom declined after the communists took power in 1949 but is said to have made a comeback in rural areas.

Song, from Linzhang county, in Hebei province, had said he started selling bodies in 1998, Xinhua reported. His initial attempt at grave-robbing failed when he was caught by police and jailed for two years.

Starting last year he allegedly lured four women with learning difficulties to remote areas on his bicycle, then strangled them. He found the two other victims by recruiting them as housekeepers.

"Killing people and selling their bodies was easier than stealing bodies from graves," he allegedly said. He sold the bodies to middlemen in Henan and Hebei, saying the victims had succumbed to illness and been abandoned by their families. Each fetched between A$480 and A$637.

His motive was reportedly to make enough money to build up a dog-breeding business.

Song was arrested when families of the two housemaids reported them missing and police found they were both hired by him through the same agency. At least three other corpse traders have been detained in connection with the case.


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