A file photo of an excavation of the remains of war dead led by notorious psychic Nguyen Thanh Thuy. Photo credit: VnExpress
Police in central Vietnam said on Sunday that they have arrested the sixth suspect in an allegedly massive scam led by a self-proclaimed psychic whose family tried to win rewards with faked remains of soldiers.
The latest arrestee, Nguyen Anh Thieu, is a son-in-law of the notorious psychic Nguyen Thanh Thuy, 56, who was arrested when the scam was busted in 2013.
Police in Quang Tri Province have already detained Thuy’s wife, another son-in-law, brother and brother-in-law.
Thuy and his family were believed to have unearthed nearly 100 sets of remains in several places from the central to the south regions with the sponsorship of Vietnam Bank for Social Policies.
The bank reportedly paid the psychic VND73 million (US$3,400) for each set of remains he found.
Their scam was discovered in July 2013 when they were excavating nine sets of remains in Quang Tri.
The Military Forensic Institute 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 charlatan clairvoyants often used to cheat families of missing solders out of money.
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.