China tries surgeon in 'iPhone-for-kidney' case

A surgeon and four other people are on trial in central China over the case of a teenager who is said to have sold a kidney to buy an iPhone and iPad 2, state media reported Friday.

The state-run China Daily newspaper said that 18-year-old Wang Shangkun is in serious condition after receiving an illegal transplant operation last year.

The five people on trial stand accused of intentional injury and illegal organ trading over the removal and sale of the organ and face three to 10 years in prison if convicted, the paper said.

A woman who answered the phone at the Beihu district people's court in the city of Chenzhou, Hunan province, said that the trial was in session Friday, though offered no details. She declined to give her name.

Citing court documents, the China Daily said that Wang agreed to sell his kidney after contacting an illegal agency online.

Wang's mother, Ou Linchun, told the court that her son did not sell his kidney to purchase the Apple devices.

"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 said, according to the paper.

The kidney was sold for 150,000 yuan ($23,600) and $10,000 in cash, though Wang received just 22,000 yuan, the paper said.

Separately, the Changsha Evening News reported that a representative of Wang was seeking 2.77 million yuan in compensation from the five defendants, medical staff who participated in the surgery, a hospital and a medical investment company.

Authorities said earlier this month that 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.

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