Three doctors in Anhui province have been arrested for offering help to con men stage traffic accidents with cancer patients' corpses and claim insurance payouts.
The doctors from the People's Hospital of Lingbi County in the province's Suzhou city were found to be offering corpses to the swindlers, led by a man surnamed Yang, and forging records, according to Suzhou police.
Yang got to know a doctor surnamed Wang who was in charge of the hospital's medical insurance department in 2011.
Wang gave personal information of terminally ill cancer patients to Yang who then bought personal accident insurance in the name of the patients with multiple insurers.
After a patient died, Yang would take the corpse from the hospital to a street in the town where he ordered his two nephews and another man to drive a car and an electric motorbike and create scenes appearing to be road accidents.
Before the police could arrive the corpses were sent back to the hospital where two other doctors pretended to tend to the "wounded" then fabricate documents to declare them dead.
When traffic police arrived at the hospital they could not find anything untoward in the process.
The con men repeated the practice with at least five cancer patients in the past four years and bought insurance from more than 10 companies.
In January several insurance companies reported abnormalities in two claims to police.
To determine how the con men committed the crimes, police launched investigations to all the related sectors, including how they bought the insurance, created accident scenes, rescued the "victims" and received the payouts.
Police discovered that one of the patients, surnamed Zhang, had already been certified dead due to cancer in the hospital the day before the fabricated road accident, which meant the patient had been declared dead twice.
It was found that Yang contacted the drivers and doctors by telephone repeatedly in the day ahead of each fake accident.
The practice had already brought the con men 1.4 million yuan ($225,680) in illegal gains, while another 1.6 million yuan was still under process before the police arrested the swindlers.
It was found that all the insurance money had been put in the bank accounts of Yang or his wife, directly from the insurers or indirectly from other accounts.
Seven people have been arrested, including the three doctors.
When reporters sought more details, Zhou Ling, head of the hospital, declined to comment.
By Wednesday, the county's government had already sent a joint investigation team, comprising the local disciplinary inspection, sanitation, publicity and emergency response authorities, to the hospital for more details.
"The purpose of the investigation is to know whether more hospital staff were related to the case and ensure similar things would never happen again," according to an official in the government's publicity department.