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A Woman in Soc Trang Faked Her Own Funeral to Avoid Debt

Trần Thị Tuyến's fraudulent funeral scheme unspooled because her family couldn't keep their stories straight. 

A three-day funeral for Tuyến, estimated to be approximately 60 years old, began on the afternoon of March 29, but on March 31, authorities discovered her very much alive at her home.

Tuyến had been living in Hong Ngu in southern Dong Thap for some time when her family members in Cu Lao Dung town in Soc Trang announced her death. When neighbors asked how she passed, they offered up conflicting stories, including that she had been in a car accident in Dong Thap, that she drowned in a river, and that she was murdered. 

Visitors to the funeral expressed suspicions about the proceedings when they observed that the casket was too light when it was carried with ease by only four people. They also found it strange that no one in the family seemed to be sad or in mourning.

Authorities became involved to investigate the situation when a family member at the funeral claimed that Tuyến had fallen ill and died in Cambodia where she had gone looking for work, and the body had been shipped back across the border. Fearing a potential COVID-19 outbreak, on March 31, the district epidemic prevention team went to spray disinfectant and make sure epidemic prevention regulations had been followed. When they opened the casket to perform an autopsy on the body, they found three bags of sand and some palm leaves inside. 

The authorities began investigating the story and found security footage showing Tuyến traveling with her son to buy a casket. At this point, Tuyến turned herself over to the authorities.

At the police station, Tuyến's explanation for why she had faked the funeral kept changing. She said that she had simply wanted to see how her husband and family would react to her death. She also claimed it was because she was angry with her husband. Finally, she admitted that it was an attempt to avoid the many debts she owed to people in the area, which is why she had gone to Dong Thap in the first place. Neighbors have confirmed Tuyến's indebtedness and the Cu Lao Dung police are now investigating the fake funeral as a case of fraud. 

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]

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