A teenage high-school student in China sold his kidney for an illicit transplant operation and used the proceeds to buy an Apple iPhone and iPad, state press said on Friday.
The 17-year-old boy, who was paid 22,000 yuan ($3,500), was recruited from an online chat room and is now suffering from kidney failure and in deteriorating health, the Xinhua news agency said.
A surgeon and four others have been arrested and are facing charges of illegal organ trading and intentional injury.
The teen was from Anhui, one of China’s poorest provinces, where inhabitants frequently leave to find work and a better life elsewhere. He bought an iPhone and iPad, and when asked by his mother where he got the money, admitted selling a kidney.
Apple products are hugely popular in China, but are priced beyond the reach of many Chinese. IPhones start at 3,988 yuan ($633), and iPads begin at 2,988 yuan ($474).
Wang’s renal deficiency is deteriorating, Xinhua quoted prosecutors as saying.
Only a fraction of the people who need organ transplants in China are able to get them, leading to “transplant tourism” where patients travel overseas for such operations, and to a black market for human organs.
China banned the trading of human organs in 2007, Xinhua said. Several other suspects involved in the case are still being investigated.