A Chinese man with Down Syndrome was kidnapped and killed as part of an elaborate turnaround.
Burial is banned in many parts of China. To avoid this, a family hired someone to provide a cremated alternative institution instead.
However, unknown to them, the bodies provided were the bodies of the murdered victims.
The murder occurred in 2017, but it got a lot of attention last week after an article about the case was published online.
According to the Cantonese High People’s Court, the hired man was identified only by his name, Huang, and was sentenced to a suspended sentence.
Find the body
According to court documents, Huang wanted the deceased family to have a traditional burial, so in 2017 the family provided them with money to provide another body.
The family lives in Shanwei, Guangdong, and all corpses need to be cremated.
But while the family thought he would look for another corpse, he killed someone to carry out the deal.
Huang, who found a man with Down Syndrome picking up trash from the street, got into his car and gave the victim alcohol until he fainted.
He then put the victim’s body in a casket, and a few days later it was handed over to his family in exchange for money.
The family paid 107,000 yuan (£ 11,900, $ 16,300), of which 90,000 yuan was paid to the accused and the rest to the deceased middleman.
Replace the casket
The family then cremated the casket, pretending that it was a relative of their own deceased.
After that, the actual body of the relative was secretly buried in the traditional way.
He was reported missing after the victim disappeared in 2017.
It took more than two years for police to reveal the crime and track down the accused.
In September 2020, Huang was sentenced to a suspended sentence and appealed.
It was finally dismissed by the Guangdong High People’s Court in December 2020, upholding a sentence with a suspended sentence. This means that if he does not re-offend after two years, he will be commuted to life imprisonment.
The family who hired Huang was found guilty of “insulting the corpse” but was not sentenced to imprisonment. It’s unclear if they had to pay a fine instead.
The story received national attention last week after the press released a special feature with the victim’s family.
Chinese campaign for burial
Traditional burials are preferred in China, and people are investing heavily in funerals and caskets, which they believe is a way of demonstrating filial piety for their ancestors.
However, China is increasingly campaigning to refrain from burying the dead, and burial is completely banned in some areas.
It aims to save land and discourage luxury burial ceremonies.
Regulations dating back to 1997 stipulate that cremation should be carried out in densely populated areas with relatively little land and convenient transportation.
“These areas that cannot meet such requirements are allowed to perform burials.”
Swaps are not unprecedented in China and most often occur in rural areas where more people focus on following traditional burial methods.