MANILA, Philippines — How far would you go just to own your piece of Apple technology? For one Chinese teen, the odds are too insurmountable for him to own an iPhone and an iPad that he had to sell one of his kidneys for it.
According to a report by the Chinese news agency Xinhua, the 17-year-old high school student –which was only identified with the surname Wang — fell victim to the ways of one He Wei, who was desperate to get out of debt due to gambling problems.
Wei reportedly asked another person to look for organ donors online, another to lease an operating room, as well as a surgeon to conduct the operation.
The suspect allegedly received a total of 220,000 yuan ($35,000) for the operation, of which 22,000 yuan was given to Wang. The remainder was split among the other accomplices.
According to the report, Wang bought a new iPhone and an iPad after he got the money, but was later forced to confess to his mother after confronted for the source of his sudden wealth.
An iPhone costs around 4,000 yuan in China, while an iPad retails for about 3,000 yuan. Ironically, it is also in China where Apple’s mobile devices are assembled, in factories replete with labor issues and much-publicized suicide incidents.
“Wang now suffers from renal insufficiency and his condition is deteriorating,” said the Xinhua news report.
Wei and four other defendants have already been charged with illegal organ trading, an underground market so rampant in China due to the lack of official organ sources in the mainland.
According to the Xinhua report, only 10,000 organ transplants are conducted annually despite the demand for more than 1.5 million people needing body parts.
“The huge gap has led to a thriving illegal market for organs,” it added.
The Chinese government is regulating the illegal trade by banning organizations and individuals from trading human organs among themselves, and has set up a voluntary donation system in 16 of the stat’s 31 regions, the report added.