Friday, 18 May, 2007 Offbeat

Corpses trade for marriages with the dead


Chinese man was arrested by the police for the murder of six women that he sold as corpse brides for "wedding of the dead".

As a part of an old Chinese tradition, families can arrange a wedding of their dead son with an afterlife spouse. Many people kept to this tradition until the 1949 and recently it became popular again in some rural areas.

Mr. Song, was a corpse trader since 1998 in Linzhang county in Hebei province. As it was quite difficult to get the dead body he often robbed graves. Once he was caught at the spot by police and had to spend two years in jail.

Last year he decided to reopen the business. Mr. Song wished to become rich as he envied other men who managed to succeed with their business.

He seduced two women, strangled them and killed other two who worked as houskeepers at his home. Then he sold the corpses to the middlemen for £200 to £265 saying that women died from illness and were abandoned by their families.

Families of two victims found their daughters missing and claimed to the police after it was disclosed that women were recruited by Mr. Song as housekeepers.

Weddings of the dead are arranged for the festival that takes place in April in some parts of the China like Shanxi province, Henan, Hebei near Beijing and in Guangdong. According to tradition corpses are matched to celebrate the wedding that resembles common marriage procedure with gifts and dinners. However, there is also a practice for a dead man who has a living wife to marry a dead woman so that she can accompany him in afterlife.

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