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Men warned off mail-order brides

(Global Times)

10:07, August 30, 2011

Shanghai authorities on Monday warned men to be wary of runaway mail-order brides, after several cases involving young women from Southeast Asian countries have been reported in the city this year.

The Shanghai Exit-entry Administration said that men should be cautious of advertisements from marriage agencies, which promise to find them a wife from Southeast Asia.

"Also, men should really think twice before getting married, especially if they don't know the bride well," the administration said in a written statement on Monday.

Tipped off by an undisclosed number of husbands in the city this year, who reported the disappearance of their wives after a few months of marriage, the administration said that it believes many more cases have gone unreported.

"One victim told us that he was unable to reach his Vietnamese wife after she went back home for a visit," Li Feng, a press officer for the administration, told the Global Times on Monday. "We suspect that there are many more like him in the city."

The man had paid 45,000 yuan ($7,402) in agency fees and an additional 35,000 yuan to the woman's family before taking her back to China, he added.

But the scenario is not that uncommon, according to an agent, who asked only to be identified by his surname, Li, from Happiness marital agency, which specializes in arranging marriages between men from the Chinese mainland and Vietnamese women.

"Vietnamese wives usually run away within the first two months of marriage if things aren't going as expected," he told the Global Times on Monday. "The main reason is that they are usually unsatisfied with their husbands when they arrive at their homes."

With a passport and a certificate proving their eligibility, men from the Chinese mainland can register for a 15-day marriage tour in Vietnam for roughly 45,000 yuan. They are typically introduced to a group of 100 young women from the countryside, around the age of 20, he said.

But another agent from Zhongyi marital agency, identified as Zhou, said that wives, who work for human traffickers under the guise of agencies, have also been known to run soon after marriage.

In this case, the marital agency in charge of the arrangement could be charged with fraud, if it can be proven that the company knowingly collaborated with the brides to deceive victims, according to Zhou Zhiqiang, a lawyer specializing in marital law at Shanghai Zhenya Law Firm.

"The problem is that it's tough to prove that the agency is an organized gang working to deceive men for money instead of introducing them to available partners," he told the Global Times on Monday.

But, once proven so, the union is no longer recognized by or protected under Chinese law, he added


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