7 people face charges in Vietnam’s notorious psychic scam

By Nguyen Phuc, Thanh Nien News

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Nguyen Thanh Thuy (2,R) and his wife Man Thi Duyen (2, L) at a police station. Photo: Nam Thanh Nguyen Thanh Thuy (2,R) and his wife Man Thi Duyen (2, L) at a police station. Photo: Nam Thanh
Many families of missing soldiers across the country have been exploited by self-proclaimed psychics



Quang Tri police have wrapped up investigation into a high-profile case in which a group of seven people, led by a self-proclaimed psychic, allegedly faked remains of dead soldiers for money rewards.
Police have proposed charges of "swindling" and "interfering with graves" against Nguyen Thanh Thuy, 56.
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 Kon Tum Province, has been accused of assisting the group. 
Thuy was arrested on July 25, 2013 in Quang Tri when he was excavating 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 rewarded Thuy VND73 million (US$3,400) for each set of remains he found.
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 pig and cat bones.
The case was flagged as a major scam after national broadcaster Vietnam Television exposed common tricks that self-proclaimed psychics often used to take advantage of families of missing soldiers.
It is estimated that remains of around 500,000 soldiers have not been accounted for 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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