A group of Chinese fishermen demanded 18,000 yuan (US$2,804) from a grieving couple after retrieving their son’s body from the Jinsha River in Sichuan province.
They refused to hand over the body if the couple did not pay up, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday, citing the Western China City Daily.
Deng Shuchao, a resident of Panzhihua city, reportedly took his own life because of money problems by jumping off a bridge over the river Nov. 30.
The body was not found until Thursday last week, when the fishermen retrieved it with a net.
Deng’s parents went to identify the body that day but were asked to pay 18,000 yuan before they could take possession of the body.
As the couple was too poor to afford the sum, they pleaded with the fishermen to lower their price.
In the meantime, their son’s body remained in the water.
After haggling over the price for three days with the help of police, the couple managed to bring it down to 5,400 yuan.
Although the amount was still beyond what they could afford, the couple borrowed money from relatives to pay the fishermen and got back the body on Sunday.
The couple later called the fishermen’s demands extortion.
But the fishermen claimed they were doing them a favor, saying that it was appropriate to ask for compensation, as local fishermen consider finding a dead body in the river bad luck.
A local lawyer said charging the couple was reasonable, as fishermen are not legally obliged to help.
However, the lawyer said, leaving the body in the water instead of pulling it up amounted to insulting the dead and was a violation of the Public Security Administration Punishments Law.
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