On February 28, 2003, a rock collapse occurred at a mine near Jixi City in Heilutz Jiang Province. The mine owner initially denied the disaster, but after relatives of the miners appealed to the authorities, he was forced to admit that fourteen miners were missing.
As a result of rescue efforts, only the bodies of twelve were found. Two miners, Wang Hu and Lao Peng, remained behind the collapsed rock, which was too dangerous to dismantle. The mine was closed, the owner received a long prison sentence, and compensation was awarded to the families of the dead and missing.
Five years later, Wang Hu returned home, but no one was waiting for him. During this time, many things had changed: his wife had married and his older children had moved away. Wang Hu accepted everything that had happened stoically, bought a new house and started gardening. However, the law enforcement authorities soon became interested in him, as it turned out that his relatives were receiving compensation for his death in the mine illegally. The question arose as to why Wang Hu had not reported himself earlier.
Wang Hu stated that he was willing to fully repay the compensation paid, and explained that he had been living among the Mighty Kton people who inhabit the depths of the earth all these years.
This statement caused confusion among the official. After the decision of the special committee, Wang Hu was sent to the hospital for a medical examination. The doctors concluded that Wang Hu was completely healthy both physically and mentally, and his account of his years spent was a fiction. However, the doctors could not explain where the miner had actually been all this time and why he showed no signs of anthracosis, a lung disease common to miners. Wang Hu had contracted the disease five years ago and had to leave his job at the mine to avoid becoming totally disabled. However, he had no signs of the disease. In addition, he appeared to have more teeth than before – thirty-two instead of twenty-five. Wang Hu’s physical age corresponded to twenty-six to twenty-eight years old, although he was actually thirty-nine.
The competent authorities began a thorough investigation. It turned out that Wang Hu had about 40,000 yuan in his bank account, received in cash two weeks before he returned home in April 2008. An illegal search revealed that Wang Hu had another more than 10 thousand yuan in cash, as well as rough emeralds worth more than 300 thousand yuan.
There was speculation that Wang Hu might have been a planted agent of a foreign power. Questions arose, however, as there was nothing in Jixi to attract an agent of a foreign power, and traditional resident spies were becoming rarer. Millions of Chinese travel overseas and back every year, providing opportunities for intelligence agencies to recruit agents.
It was also revealed that Wang Hu had sold uncut emeralds to a jeweler in Shanghai, which was confirmed by his testimony and verified by intelligence agencies. When asked where he obtained them, Wang Hu said he found them while staying with the Mighty Cthones.
The intelligence services had to study the story told by Wang Hu to find out the truth of his words.