Lifestyle & Belief

Trial starts in 'kidney for iPad' organ trafficking case


China is Apple's second largest market with iPads and iPhones increasingly popular among the country's youth.


Feng Li

Five people are now in trial in central China, after a 17-year old student removed and sold his kidney to but an iPad and iPhone, reports the BBC

The student, Wang Shangkun, now 18, did not attend the hearing and is reportedly very sick with renal failure since the April 2011 transplant.

Prosecutors allege the five defendants were a criminal gang preying on willing teenagers who needed cash to buy fashionable technology products like the iPad. 

According to court documents from Beihu district people's court, the suspected mastermind, He Wei, testified that Wang had been "willing" to receive the surgery, reports China Daily

Song Zhongyu, a specialist urinary surgeon, was allegedly hired to perform the operation in a military hospital. Three others involved in the transplant are facing minor charges. 

The teenager's kidney was later sold to a man identified in the court indictment as Huang, for the sum of 150,000 yuan ($23,500) and $10,000 in cash. The majority of the money was divided among the gang, with Wang receiving roughly $3,000, reports the BBC. 

Wang's mother, Ou Linchun, told the court her son bought the products to conceal the large amount of money. 

"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," Ou said. 

Sang Biao, a professor of psychology at East China Normal University, told China Daily that some young people ignore the dangers of surgery and risk their health to buy material goods that are often out of their reach. 

"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.