China trio's fake-grave scam unearthed
THREE men in south-western China face punishments after 52 new graves of their families - which had earned them government compensation as they were said to have been moved from somewhere else - were confirmed to contain no remains of their ancestors.
Prison warden Wang Fulong, village leader Wang Dingxuan and teacher Wang Dingyin had created the fake graves in their home village - Chanlong in Sichuan province's Guangyuan city - starting in May last year to cheat the government of compensation, which came to at least 200,000 yuan (S$42,900), reported the Chengdu Commercial Daily.
There are another 17 graves which are yet to be authenticated, said the newspaper.
If the accounts by Chanlong villagers, who reported the fraud to the authorities recently, are true, there could be as many as 120 fake graves. Only 46 are genuine, they said.
The compensation for the excavation and removal of each grave is 4,000 yuan, according to Chengdu Commercial Daily.
The three Wangs hatched their "fake grave" plan when the village was notified early last year that a highway would be built through areas where some of its graves were.
A Chengdu Commercial Daily reporter visited the village recently and saw a cluster of fake graves on a slope near where the highway would be built.
A village woman said she was recruited by the Wangs to help dig the grave pits, but was suspiciously barred from participating in the "transfer of the remains".
An old man said: "Ours is a small village, so we know roughly how many graves each family has. How could the number mushroom?"
According to Chengdu Commercial Daily, Fulong would be disciplined by the city authority, while Dingyin has been put under observation on his job and Dingxuan has been sacked as village leader.
The Wangs have returned much of the money they had obtained through the scam, said the newspaper.
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