THE ashes of an influencer who killed herself were stolen by a gang who offered them for a bizarre Chinese ‘ghost wedding’, it was reported.
The 25-year-old, who went by the name Luo Xiaomao Maozi, claimed she had been egged on by trolls on Douyin, China’s version of Tik Tok before she died.
Her body was cremated in a rural part of her native Shandong province in October.
But this week it has emerged her ashes were the stolen by crematorium staff who offered to an unrelated family for a ghost wedding.
A ghost wedding is a ritual practiced in rural China involves one or both deceased parties being wed in a ceremony in an ancient custom thought to bring peace for the dead in the afterlife.
Three men who worked at the crematorium have now been detained after trying to sell the ashes to a family, Beijing News reports.
The paper said the ashes could be worth up to £8200 but the wife of one of the suspects, named Zhang, said the deal fell through.
“Fundamentally it was just to make a little a bit of money and wasn’t a big thing but it’s only because people rush to make it a big deal that it’s become an issue,” she told Beijing News.
A police investigation is continuing into the incident.
The practice of Ghost Weddings traditionally takes place when a marriage ceremony was not completed due to the sudden death of either the bride or groom.
Families also purchase or steal corpses of unmarried individuals if their children die single.
The custom has been practised for some 3,000 years and believers say it ensures the unmarried dead are not alone in the afterlife.
The wedding ‘ceremony’ will typically involve the funeral plaque of the bride and the groom and a banquet.
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In 2019, the body of a teenager has been stolen from her grave by tomb raiders in Hebei Province in North China.
Her family said they believe the corpse of their female relative, who died aged 18, has been stolen for one of these macabre ceremonies.
At the site of the woman’s overturned grave, a pair of gloves suspected of belonging to one of the tomb raiders was also found and has been collected by police as evidence.
The family revealed strangers had once visited their home offering to purchase their relative’s body to become a “corpse bride” for a ghost wedding.
They say they refused the chilling offer.