HANOI, VIETNAM — A Vietnamese man claiming paranormal powers has been arrested on suspicion of faking the remains of soldiers killed and missing during the Vietnam War in order to claim more than $350,000 from a charitable fund set up by a state-owned bank.
Thanh Nien newspaper reported the case came to light after a military forensic team analyzed nine sets of supposed Vietnamese human remains that that the suspect, Nguyen Van Thuy, had helped to recover. Tests showed they were animal bones, it said.
Other media reported that Thuy and the bank had recovered 105 sets of remains since January this year. It was not clear how many, if any, of those were fakes. Thanh Nien said that Thuy has been accused of fraud. It wasn’t known if he had lawyers representing him.
The Vietnam Bank for Social Policies said in a statement Wednesday it was trying to help the families of those missing in action. It said it had no legal responsibility for the alleged scam.
Lao Dong newspaper reported that the general director of the bank had enlisted the help of Thuy after he helped find the remains of his father, who was killed in the war. It said the fund was made of donations from bank employees, and that Thuy was paid $3,570 for each set of remains.
More than 1 million Vietnamese soldiers were killed in the war.
At least 200,000 bodies have yet to be found, while the remains of some 300,000 soldiers have been buried in unnamed graves.