7 prosecuted in major psychic scam to find remains of war martyrs

7 prosecuted in major psychic scam to find remains of war martyrs

Thanh Nien News, Vietnam/August 23, 2015

By Thai Son

Quang Tri prosecutors’ office has announced charges against 7 people in a high-profile case, including a leading self-proclaimed psychic, for faking remains of dead soldiers for money rewards.

The mastermind, Nguyen Thanh Thuy, 56, face charges of "swindling" and "interfering with graves".

Five of his relatives face the same charges, including his wife Man Thi Duyen and his brother Nguyen Van Hoanh.

Vu Duc Chung, 69, keeper of a cemetery in the Central Highlands of Kon Tum, has been accused of assisting the group.

Thuy was arrested on July 25, 2013 in Quang Tri Province during an excavation of nine sets of fake remains that he claimed to be of Vietnamese soldiers.

Subsequent investigation led to the arrest of six others in the ring. They had allegedly unearthed nearly 100 sets of remains in the central to the southern regions with the sponsorship of state-owned Vietnam Bank for Social Policies.

The bank reportedly paid Thuy VND73 million (US$3,400) for each set of remains he found, totaling more than VND7 billion.

They were also accused of cheating eight families of war dead out of VND1 billion.

The Military Forensic Institute has concluded a majority of the remains claimed to be of missing war soldiers were actually stolen remains in cemeteries and pig and cat bones.

According to the indictment, Thuy and his wife had been convicted of swindling. Thuy came up with the scam because his relatives are war martyrs and he learned that many people are still seeking for MIAs.

It is estimated that the remains of around 500,000 soldiers have not been found or identified in Vietnam.
Families across the country continue to search for them, using both official channels and mediums, though controversies over the reliability of telepathy have been making headlines for years.

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