Nguyen Thanh Thuy (2nd, L) during an excavation in Quang Tri Province. File photo
Police in central Vietnam have arrested another suspect in a major case in which a self-proclaimed psychic allegedly faked remains of war dead to swindle big money from a sponsoring bank.
The arrestee was Nguyen Truong Son, a son-in-law of the psychic, Nguyen Thanh Thuy, police said Wednesday.
Thuy, 56, a former police officer once jailed for fraud, was taken into custody in October 2013 together with his wife.
His brother and brother-in-law were arrested later.
Investigators said that Thuy and his family excavated nine sets of remains that they claimed to be of missing war soldiers.
However, the Military Forensic Institute said that a majority of the remains were just pig and cat bones.
By the time they were arrested, they had unearthed nearly 100 sets of remains in several places from the central region to the south, Quang Tri Province’s police said.
The excavations were reportedly funded by the state-owned Vietnam Bank for Social Policies, which paid Thuy VND73 million ($3,400) for each set of remains he found.
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.