Taking the money and running. Story here.
**"With no eligible women in his village, Zhou Pin, 27 years old, thought he was lucky to find a pretty bride whom he met and married within a week, following the custom in rural China.
"Ten days later, Cai Niucuo vanished, leaving behind her clothes and identity papers. She did not, however, leave behind her bride price: 38,000 yuan, or about $5,500, which Mr. Zhou and his family had scrimped and borrowed to put together.
"When Mr. Zhou reported his missing spouse to authorities, he found his situation wasn’t unique. In the first two months of this year, Hanzhong town saw a record number of scams designed to extract high bride prices in a region with an oversupply of bachelors.
“The fleeing Mrs. Zhou was one of 11 runaway brides – hardly the isolated case or two that the town had seen in years past. The local phenomenon has fueled broader speculation among officials that the fast-footed wives may be part of a larger criminal ring.”**
This phenomenon has been made possible by two intersecting factors: China’s one-child policy; and parents using ultrasound to determine the sex of their fetus and aborting it if it’s not a boy, or just killing the baby if it turns out to be a girl at birth. This has resulted in an estimated extra 32 million men as of 2005.