Five people in southern China have been charged for their involvement in allegedly removing a boy's kidney in return for offering him cash to buy an iPhone and iPad.
According to the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua (by way of Reuters), a 17-year-old boy last April had his kidney removed so he could buy an iPhone and iPad. The defendant who arranged the transplant allegedly received 220,000 yuan (about $35,000) for bringing the boy to a surgeon, who was also charged, along with the person's cohorts. The boy, who now suffers from renal deficiency, received 22,000 yuan.
The story underscores two major factors impacting China at the moment: an increasing number of people want to get their hands on the latest and greatest technology products, but in many parts of the country, affording them is nearly impossible. According to Xinhua, the boy is from Anhui, one of China's poorest provinces, making the iPhone, which starts at 3,988 yuan ($633) and the iPad, which retails for 2,988 yuan ($474), nearly impossible for him to afford on his own.
Xinhua said that the alleged crime was discovered after the boy's mother found him using Apple's products. After she asked him how he earned the money for the devices, he admitted to selling his kidney.
According to Xinhua, Chinese law enforcement officials are still investigating more suspects that might be linked to the alleged trade. China banned trade in human organs in 1997, Xinhua said, although there is a thriving black market for organs.