Five people arrested in China after a teenager sold his kidney for an iPad
A group of five persons has been arrested in southern China after a 17-year-old student sold his kidney so he could buy an iPhone and iPad, state media have reported.
The five people detained include the surgeon who removed the kidney from the boy in April 2011.
State-run Xinhua news agency says the group received 220,000 yuan (around $35,000) for the transplant.
The student is said to be suffering renal failure, according to prosecutors in Hunan province quoted by Xinhua.
Only identified by his surname Wang, the student is said to have received 22,000 yuan (about $3,000) for his kidney and the rest was split between the defendants and other medical staff .
The teenager was reportedly recruited for the illegal trade through an online chatroom.
The case was discovered when his mother noticed the new gadgets; when asked where he got the money, he admitted selling a kidney.
The teen was from Anhui, one of China’s poorest provinces, where inhabitants frequently leave to find work and a better life elsewhere.
The group behind the operation has been charged with causing intentional injury and illegal organ trading.
While Apple iPhones and iPads are very popular in China, they are priced beyond the reach of many urban workers.
And there is a constant shortage of organ donors.
Official figures from the health ministry show that about 1.5 million people need transplants, but only 10,000 are performed annually.
Executed prisoners have been often used as a source of organs, but last month China vowed to phase this out over the next five years.