Prosecutors in northern China have indicted 74 people for murder and other charges related to scams in which the deaths were staged to look like mining accidents in order to win compensation from mine owners.

The Inner Mongolia regional prosecutor's office said on its microblog Tuesday that the defendants were charged in the city of Bayannur over the murder of 17 people in six provinces and regions.

Similar cases have been reported within China's coal industry that long operated under lax enforcement. Mine owners anxious to avoid government scrutiny were often quick to pay off the families of dead workers, along with regulators and the media.

China has since sought to impose better safety standards on the industry, closing many smaller operations and seeking to raise prices by reducing oversupply.