Chinese police seeking 100 Vietnamese brides who vanish from village at same time
In what sounds like a scene out of a movie, more than 100 married women in a village in China disappeared overnight.
The women, all Vietnamese, vanished after marrying locals from the poor rural area of Quzhou in Hebei.
Chinese police are now looking for these women.
The men were introduced to the women by Ms Wu Meiyu, a Vietnamese, who had lived in the area for 20 years, the China Daily said.
Ms Wu received payments of more than 100,000 yuan (S$22,000) if the introductions were successful.
The matchmaker has since disappeared with the women, it reported.
The state-run newspaper cited an unnamed local official saying an organised ring may have been involved in the mass disappearance.
"With the advanced communication techniques of today, it’s easy for all the brides to leave at the same time,” the official told the newspaper.
Buying wives has become increasingly common in some of China’s poor rural areas, where a gender imbalance has developed due to a traditional preference for sons and the country’s family planning policies.
Across China, 118 males are born for every 100 females, according to government statistics.
In some rural areas, men have to own a house, car and have considerable wealth before they can attract a Chinese bride, a cost the China Daily said could reach 400,000 yuan.
But with many unable to do so, the trade in foreign brides has grown in China.