Runaway Brides Scam Desperate Chinese Bachelors

Surplus of men inspires fraudsters to make off with rural families' 'bride prices'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2009 6:31 AM CDT
A sales clerk waits for customers at a bridal gown shop in Beijing, China.   (AP Photo/ Elizabeth Dalziel)
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(Newser) – China's one-child policy may have birthed a rising number of pretty and fleet-footed criminals, the Wall Street Journal reports. The traditional preference for boys has caused a surplus of tens of millions of men of marriageable age, mostly in rural areas, and some villages are being scammed by women who marry local men only to scamper with the customary "bride price," which can amount to years of farm income.

Such scams aren't new, authorities say, but they are beginning to happen more often and in bigger clusters. In one village in central China with 30 young bachelors and no single women, a trio thought to be from the next province met, married, and deserted three local men in the space of a month, leaving behind lovelorn husbands and families swindled out of years of savings.  "I feel I can't hate her," one husband said. "She must have her own troubles."