Imagine meeting someone you were prepared to spend the rest of your life with. And let's say you were part of a culture that engaged in more "traditional" marital practices, like handing a hefty dowry over to prospective brides that accounted for tens of thousands of dollars.
So you go through with everything and you're walking around town thinking you're married. That is until you see your spouse tying the knot with someone else on social media.
That's what happened to a Chinese man, as per the South China Morning Post who learned that he was one of 19 conned individuals who found themselves on the receiving end of a scheme headed by two individuals and three accomplices.
The five scammers were taken into police custody.
the But they probably would've gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling livestreaming online videos. The man happened to see the ceremony taking place during a broadcast out of Bayannur, Inner Mongolia.
The unidentified man teamed up with the other scammed groom to go to police where they presented evidence of their case.
It's believed that the five con artists worked together to grift 148,000 yuan (about $23,000) from each of the men in a combination of cash and gifted jewelry.
According to reports from Mongolian Authorities, they were able to fleece $312,000 from the victims.
A fake matchmaker by the name of Li purportedly set up the con. They courted one another for two months and in January of 2020 they were married.
SCMP reported that there were issues with the union from the get-go, however. Their marriage wasn't formerly registered in spite of throwing a "traditional ceremony."
Then there was the fact that the new bride was constantly leaving home in order to, in her words, see family members. During their two months of being married, they only spent 10 days with one another.
The "mastermind" behind the entire operation is a woman by the name of Dawa (no other information on her identity was given).
Dawa and Li allegedly started the crime ring and then brought in three accomplices who helped play out the role of a prospective bride. The two other accomplices would pretend to play family members of said bride. They focused most of their efforts in Gansu and towns in Inner Mongolia.
Due to the massive population disparities between men and women in China (males massively outnumber females, many believe that China's former one child policy, combined with its patriarchal social structure created this inequity, the con-artists were able to charge exorbitant dowry prices to men who wanted to settle down.
It was reported that the group focused primarily on men who were slightly older and having a difficult time getting married.
Reactions to the story shocked folks on social media.
But as it turns out, there are a number of other weird matrimonial stories flooding the media as of late.
Like this one wedding in India where the bride unfortunately passed away. One would think that the ceremony would ultimately be called off, right?
Wrong. TMZ reports that a woman named Surbhi collapsed in the middle of her own wedding and died of a heart attack after exchanging garlands with her expectant groom.
The families didn't seem to be that concerned what happened to their daughter, though. Or maybe they were concerned but were more concerned about a bunch of wedding guests not seeing a marriage happen.
They still wanted the wedding to go on, but what were they to do? The bride was dead?
Good thing she had a sister. Surbhi's family "offered" for the young man to marry Nisha instead, so they carried her dead body to another room and Nisha married the young man instead.
Nisha and Surbhi's brother spoke to the Times of India about the incident, "It was a bizarre situation as the wedding of my younger sister took place while the dead body of my other sister was laying in another room."
If you're wondering why the wedding still took place, apparently the groom's family was expecting a dowry regardless of whether or not the wedding took place and the bride's family was intent on getting the most of their money regardless.
Female families paying dowries to the groom's side is a practice that was outlawed in India since 1961, however many traditional parts of the country still engage in the process.