Chinese police are tracking down more than 100 Vietnamese women who vanished late last month after marrying local bachelors in Hebei Province, China Daily reported.
Wu Meiyu, a Vietnamese bride who has been living in Quzhou county for about 20 years, disappeared together with all the brides she introduced to local bachelors since the beginning of this year, the state-run newspaper said Thursday.
It is not immediately clear why a Vietnamese bride has such Chinese name.
"Since Wu had been in the village for a long time and has a 6-year-old grandson, I didn't expect she would cheat me out of money," the newspaper quoted Yuan Xinqiang, 22, from Quzhou as saying.
Yuan said he paid 105,000 yuan (US$17,000) to Wu to marry a Vietnamese woman in September, adding that the bride was gentle and quiet and had won his trust.
A public servant of Handan, who asked to go unnamed, told China Daily there might be an organized ring that helped all the brides leave en masse.
"With the advanced communication techniques of today, it's easy for all the brides to leave at the same time," he said.
The official said buying brides has developed into a local tradition in rural areas such as Guantao and Wei counties.
China's stringent family planning policy, which has resulted in more male births due to a traditional preference for sons, is causing a widening gender gap, he said. As the gap widens, the cost of a Chinese bride moves beyond the budget of local farmers, he added.
The cost of marrying a Chinese woman could reach as much as 400,000 yuan as a groom is required to own a house and offer 110,000 yuan in cash and a car worth at least 40,000 yuan as betrothal gift, a man in Guangping county told China Daily.
The public security bureau of Handan said international matchmaking services and cross-border marriage brokerages are illegal, and the case may be related to human trafficking.