You may have heard about the real-life corpse brides that are sold on the Chinese black market. If not, here’s a quick run-down: The bodies of recently deceased women are dug up by grave robbers and sold to families of deceased young men, who marry the corpses for luck and so that they can have a partner in the afterlife. It’s an ancient tradition dating back 3,000 years called “ghost marriage,” and it is practiced all over the world, particularly in India and China.
The bodies are sold for thousands of dollars by body snatchers who dig up them up for the outlawed custom.
Now there have been 11 arrests made in China for grave robbing and selling corpses in the Shandong province, Time Magazine reported.
According to South China Morning News, the lead suspect in the case—Wang Tsou, 34— told authorities that old carcasses hold no value, while freshly deceased bodies can be sold for over $3,000 in U.S. currency. One body in the case was eventually sold for a whopping $6,200.
The Daily Mail reported Wang was originally arrested on charges of a stolen bike. When he was taken for questioning he confessed to grave robbing, and implicated his accomplices. His confession led to the arrest of 10 other people, as authorities continue their investigation.
The accused could face up to three years in prison, if convicted of the criminal offense.