A Chinese polygamist who was secretly married to three women managed to keep them from finding out about each other despite arranging for them to live within a one-kilometre radius, for his own convenience.
The 36-year-old man, surnamed Zhang, is facing up to two years in prison for polygamy after he exploited a loophole in the system to legally marry three different women in a period of three years.
He worked as a real-estate agent in Kunshan, eastern China’s Jiangsu province, and made a lot of money thanks to the country’s booming property market, so providing for three different families was no problem, but he admitted that travelling between three homes up to 10 times a week could be a bit tiring.
Not as tiring as it could have been, though, as Zhang made sure to buy the three women apartments within a one-kilometre radius, for his own convenience.
Zhang, who hails from Henan province, reportedly married his first wife, Ren, in Kunshan, in 2015. A year later, he married his second wife, Chen, in his home province, and in 2017 he tied the knot with a third woman, surnamed Wang, in her home city of Anhui.
According to a report by the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, Zhang had at least one child with each of the three women and tried to spend as much time with each of his families. To make it easier for himself, he moved them as close to each other as possible.
But how did Zhang manage to get another two marriage certificates after marrying his first wife? Well, it turns out that the civil authorities in the three different provinces where he married his wives didn’t share a database, so he didn’t show up as already married.
The man claims that he didn’t know being married to multiple women at the same time was illegal, but authorities are reluctant to believe him, as he did marry them in different provinces before bringing them to Kunshan.
After successfully juggling three families for years, Zhang’s luck finally ran out in 2017, when his second wife, Chen, became suspicious after discovering texts between her husband and another woman and decided to follow him on one of his business trips.
She didn’t have to tag him for very long, as Zhang stopped in a nearby residential area to visit his first wife. Chen discovered Zhang’s third wife soon after that, by texting a number that kept calling his phone.
After learning about Zhang’s multiple families, his first wife divorced him last year, and the other two women filed a police report against him in March. Despite his treachery, Zhang’s second and third wives described him as caring and considerate, adding that he always washed the dishes after dinner, when he was at home.
Zhang was officially accused of practising polygamy in November of last year and is now awaiting his sentence. Even though his first wife left him, the man still hopes to patch things up to at least one of his other wives.
“After I get out, I will see who can forgive me and I will be with her,” the ousted polygamist told reporters.