China arrests 137 over organ-trafficking ring
BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese police arrested 137 people, among them doctors, suspected of trafficking human organs in a nationwide crime ring that profited from the huge demand for transplants, authorities said.
In a sting operation beginning in late July, police pounced across 18 provinces and regions and "rescued" 127 people who had agreed to donate organs to illicit traders, the Ministry of Public Security said. Eighteen doctors were among those detained, suspected of performing illegal transplant operations, the ministry said in a report posted on its website late on Saturday.
"The suspects usually used forged identities to recruit healthy candidates from the Internet and put them under secret confinement separated from the outside world," it said. "The suspects sought patients in need of organ transplants from hospitals or the Internet and matched them with healthy donors."
The crackdown on traffickers comes after state media reported in April that a teenage high-school student sold a kidney for an illicit transplant operation and used the proceeds to buy an iPhone and iPad. The 17-year-old boy, who was paid 22,000 yuan (S$4,287), was recruited from an online chatroom. The Xinhua news agency said at the time the boy was suffering from kidney failure and in deteriorating health.