China / Society

Tomb raiders use stolen ashes to con living relatives

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-11-16 16:29

BEIJING - A group of thieves raided a cemetery in central China's Henan Province, stealing urns to use as bargaining chips to blackmail relatives of the deceased, local media reported.

Liu, one of the blackmail victims, informed the police that she had been in contact with members of the gang that had stolen her husband's ashes, according to Henan Television Station last week.

A cemetery in Xinyang City called Liu last Thursday to break the news that that her husband's tomb had been looted, and his urn was missing. Another tomb nearby was also burglarized.

A telephone number had been left on the headstones of the ransacked tombs. When Liu called the number, the person that answered told her that the urn would only be returned if a ransom of 20,000 yuan ($3,136) was paid.

After the ransom was paid, however, the tomb raiders demanded more money.

Cemetery employees said that the crime bore the hallmarks of an experienced, well-organized mission, based on the limited evidence left at the scene.

An investigation by the Henan Police is ongoing. Currently, they believe it could be the work of an organized gang that travel around the country.

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