Nguyen Thanh Thuy (2nd, L) during an excavation in Quang Tri Province's Ea H'Leo District /FILE PHOTO
Police in the central province of Quang Tri arrested a man who Tuesday for his alleged involvment in a scam where a telepath was accused of faking martyrs’ remains to swindle money out of a state-owned bank.
Col Nguyen Van Ky, vice director of Quang Tri’s police department, said Man Duc Phuong is a brother-in-law of Nguyen Thanh Thuy, who was apprehended together with his wife Man Thi Duyen last October.
Police said Thuy and his accomplices, in collaboration with the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies, excavated nine sets of remains claimed to be of missing martyrs in Gio Mai District on July 25 last year.
However, the Military Forensic Institute, which conducted DNA tests on the remains as proposed by the province's military headquarters and the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, concluded that a majority of the remains were pig and cat bones.
As of the time they were arrested, the married couple and the bank had unearthed nearly 100 sets of remains in Quang Tri, the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, and the southern province of Binh Phuoc.
The bank was believed to have paid Thuy, a former police officer once jailed for fraud, ND73 million (US$3,400) for each set of remains he found.
Ky said Quang Tri police have recently extended the detention of Thuy and Duyen for another four months for the investigation.
The couple was arrested after an investigative report on Vietnam Television exposed common tricks that charlatan clairvoyants used to cheat families of martyrs out of money.
It is estimated that the remains of around 500,000 martyrs 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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