Surgeon, four others charged for harvesting teen's kidney for iPad
While there are people who would sell an arm and a leg to get an iPhone, a Chinese teenager outdid them by selling his kidney —to buy an iPhone and an iPad.
A surgeon and four other people are now on trial before a court in Central China for operating on a teenager who allegedly sold his kidney and bought an iPhone smartphone and and iPad 2 tablet in April last year.
On Thursday, judges heard testimonies on how Wang Shangkun, 18, became seriously ill after undergoing an illegal transplant in Chenzhou, Hunan province last year, according to a report on China Times.
"The case is complicated and involves a juvenile, so it's not suitable for us to disclose more details," China Times quoted Huang Wujiang, who works at the court, as saying on Thursday.
Facing trial are suspected mastermind He Wei; Yin Shen; Tang Shimin; Su Kaizong; and Song Zhongyu.
If found guilty, the five defendants face three to 10 years in prison for intentional injury and illegal organ trading.
Four more people who are suspected of playing a minor role in the incident face fines, the report said.
Wang did not attend the hearing as he was still in very poor health, the report said.
But his mother, Ou Linchun, told the court her son had not sold his kidney to buy the coveted Apple products.
"My son was tempted by the illegal organ traders and might have been afraid of getting caught with such a large amount of money, so he bought a cell phone and a tablet PC," she said.
The China Times report cited documents from Beihu district people's court showing Wang, who lives in Anhui province, contacted an illegal agency online and agreed to a deal to sell his kidney.
He Wei said during the trial on Thursday that Wang, who was 17 at the time, had been "willing" to undergo surgery.
He, who prosecutors accused of arranging kidney transplants to pay his debts, contacted Yin Shen and Tang Shimin.
The two in turn found Su, who works at a military hospital in the city and had access to an operating room.
Song, a specialist urinary surgeon, was allegedly hired to perform the operation, which took place in April 2011.
The kidney was sold to a man identified only as Huang, from Gansu province, for 150,000 yuan ($23,500) and $10,000 cash.
But the teenage Wang received just 22,000 yuan, with the rest of the money divided by the gang, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said that when Wang returned home, his mother noticed he was weak and soon learned what had happened. She then called police in Chenzhou.
Zhao Li, a criminal lawyer at Beijing King and Bond Law Firm, said organ transplants from living donors are only legal between relatives.
"Organ transplants by illegal groups are harmful to providers and receivers. The punishment for wrongdoers should be severe," he said.
Zhai Xiaomei, a professor of bioethics at Peking Union Medical College, agreed, saying organ transplants are risky for healthy adults, let alone a young boy.
"Patients must be taken good care of and have enough nutrition after receiving organ transplant surgery, or else they will face great damage to their health," she said.
But Sang Biao, a professor of psychology at East China Normal University, said some juveniles cannot resist the lure of material goods, even if they are aware such surgery can be harmful.
"The young man might fail to tell his parents what he was going to undergo before the tragedy happened, and the adults didn't guide him on how to face material life in the right way," he said.
Earlier, the Ministry of Public Security said 137 suspects were caught in the latest crackdown on human organ trafficking.
The investigation was conducted at the end of July by 18 provincial authorities, who rescued 127 potential organ suppliers, according to the ministry. — TJD, GMA News
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