Beijing: Three persons have been detained in north China's Shanxi province for stealing a female corpse from a village tomb to sell it as a bride for an ancient ritual of the marriage of the deceased.
The incident was reported to the police by the villagers yesterday, when the accused were raiding the tomb, which led to their arrest, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
"A 72-year-old man Hou, who is the main suspect, was tempted by the idea of selling female bodies as brides to deceased single men when hearing the death of a young woman in a nearby village," public security bureau of Ruicheng County said.
The accused claimed to be relatives of the woman had found a buyer who agreed to purchase the body priced at 25,000 yuan (USD 3,900).
A "netherworld marriage", once popular in some parts of China, was a ritual where a man who dies unwed would bring bad luck to the family, so he must be buried with a female corpse as a ritual symbolising a wedding of the deceased.
In 2012, three men murdered a pregnant woman in Shaanxi Province and sold her body as a ghost bride in a case that prompted a national outcry against this grisly tradition.