A young man is now disabled, bed-bound and needing constant care after selling his kidney to buy an iPhone, according to recent reports on Chinese media.
The 25-year-old man, known by his surname Wang, had his kidney removed in an underground clinic before selling it on the black market for 22,000 yuan (£2,528) in 2011 when he was just 17 years old.
The teenager wanted an iPhone and iPad desperately in order to prove to his classmates that he was trendy, but his cash-strapped parents could not afford them.
His story shocked the country at the time, leading iPhones to be billed as ‘kidney machines’ by web users.
In order to raise funds for his gadgets, the high school student found three middlemen on a Chinese online chatting platform QQ, who promised to help him realise his dream – but at the cost of one kidney.
To complete the transaction, Wang travelled from his hometown in the eastern Anhui Province – one of China’s poorest provinces – to the southern Hunan Province in April, 2011.
He organised his travels secretly and neither of his parents was aware of his plan.
Upon his arrival, the middlemen introduced the boy to two surgeons, one surgeon’s assistant and one nurse, all of who worked at local hospitals and were moonlighting.
An operation soon took place at an un-certified clinic provided by one middleman to remove the right kidney from Wang, according to a report on CCTV.com at the time.
The kidney was then sold to a patient by the middlemen illegally and the recipient paid 150,000 yuan (£17,258) as well as $10,000 (£7,860) for the organ. Wang was paid 22,000 yuan – 10 per cent of the total profit – while the middlemen kept the majority of the money.
The boy immediately bought an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2 with the money before returning to Anhui Province.
His mother only discovered the situation when she saw him with his new digital products. She wondered where he had got the money and Wang told her he had sold his kidney. His mother called the police.