Back in June 2011, we reported that a 17-year-old teenage male in the Anhui province in eastern China had reportedly sold a kidney in order to purchase Apple's iPad 2 and a laptop. The organ was removed without his parents' knowledge or consent, and sold for a mere RMB22,000 (roughly $3,350 USD) to a company seeking organs in an online advertisement.
"I wanted to buy an iPad 2, but I didn't have the money," the boy told Shenzhen TV in the southern province of Guangdong, "When I surfed the internet, I found an advert posted online by an agent saying they were able to pay RMB20,000 to buy a kidney."
To sell his kidney, the teenage male secretly headed north to the city of Chenzhou in Hunan Province. Without verifying the teen's age, a surgeon removed the organ at a local hospital and required the boy to stay an additional three days thanks to complications related to the procedure. The teen obviously lived, headed back to the Anhui province, and purchased his new gadgets.
After noticing the teen's new toys and eventually the accompanying nasty scar, the boy's mother dragged him back to Chenzhou and reported the incident to the police. Five people were eventually charged by the authorities in April 2012, one of which received 220,000 yuan (about $35,000) to arrange the transaction. This individual paid the teen his 22,000 yuan, then split the rest with the surgeon, three other defendants and other medical staff.
Meanwhile, prosecutors claimed that the teen male, identified as Wang Shangkun, suffered renal failure thanks to the illegal kidney transplant. Renal failure is described as the "rapid loss of the kidneys' ability to remove waste and help balance fluids and electrolytes in the patient's body." In Wang's case, one kidney just wasn't enough to do the job. Typical treatments include a strict diet, possible antibiotics, IV-based medicines, and even dialysis.
Now the Herald Sun reports that China has jailed seven individuals involved with removing the teen male's kidney. Additional details were also provided, revealing that Wang actually met the group of organ harvesters in an online chat room. He Wei was also the individual who organized the illegal transplant, and Song Zhongyu was the surgeon who removed the kidney.
According to the report, a total of nine were actually charged, but two were released because they had very minor roles. Ringleader He Wei was sentenced to a mere five years jail time on Thursday, and the surgeon only received a three-year sentence with a reprieve of five years.
Meanwhile, Wang's mother is denying that her son sold his kidney just because he wanted an iPad 2 (and now reportedly an iPhone, not a laptop). "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 told local reporters.
Currently Wang's health status is unknown, but he reportedly received compensation worth more than 1.47 million yuan ($224,000 USD) from the defendants. This payment in return helped reduce their time in jail.