Police in Hanoi have broken up a ring that unlawfully traded human kidneys in the name of organ donation since January.
Officers on Monday arrested and initiated legal proceedings against Tran Van Phuong, 29, hailing from the northern province of Bac Giang, for “trading, appropriating body parts and tissues.”
Three other accomplices are Le Thuy Linh, 22, from the southern province of Binh Duong, Hoang Ngoc Tien, 30, from north-central Quang Tri Province, and Phan Van Hung, 27, residing in north-central Nghe An Province.
According to the case file, the group of suspects successfully traded human kidneys in the name of organ donation three times between January and September.
Phuong was in charge of finding buyers and sellers by posting announcements on his Facebook account named ‘Tran bui.’
He also faked documents to make the sales appear as organ donations in order to avoid competent authorities’ suspicion.
Hung and Tien were tasked with taking buyers and sellers to local clinics for examinations, while Linh’s main job was to cook meals for the gang and their ‘clients.’
In January, Phuong made a deal with his first seller, who was Tien, then becoming one of his accomplices.
Phuong agreed to pay Tien VND250 million (US$10,694) for his kidney and let him stay with his gang at their tenanted house in Hanoi while waiting for a buyer.
P.T.T.X., who is from the northern province of Hai Duong, later consented to buy the kidney at VND320 million ($13,688). The transplant was carried out successfully at the Vietnam-Germany Hospital in Hanoi in April.
Phuong benefited VND70 million ($2,994) from the trade and shared part of the money with his accessories.
Tien received the money for his organ and an additional VND5 million ($213) to become Phuong’s gang member.
With a similar approach, Phuong pocketed VND100 million ($4,277) in June and another VND40 million ($1,710) in September.
Officers stated Phuong had also scouted in front of local hospitals for those in need to buy and sell kidneys.
Phuong previously sold one of his kidneys in Cambodia for VND150 million ($6,417), while Linh also sold a kidney in the past.