Five people have gone on trial in China for illegal organ trading and intentional injury after a student sold his kidney to buy an iPad and iPhone.
The defendants include the surgeon who removed the kidney from the 17-year-old in the central province of Hunan. They face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. The teenager, who suffered renal failure after the transplant, was said to be too sick to attend the hearing.
The student, who has been identified only as Wang, was said to have been recruited in an online chat room.
Prosecutors accuse one of the defendants, He Wei, of arranging the illegal kidney transplant last April to pay off gambling debts. He was a member of the group that was said to have received around $35,000 for the transplant. Four others accused of having a minor involvement in the case also face fines.
The student was reportedly paid around $3,000 for his kidney. He nearly died after suffering renal failure, and is said to still be in poor health.
The transplant was discovered when the student’s mother asked him how he obtained the money to buy his new iPhone and iPad. He eventually admitted to her that he had sold his kidney.
Apple products are immensely popular in China, but are priced out of reach of the average Chinese worker.