The Hanoi police department announced on Thursday their intentions to proceed with charges against a local man accused of selling his own kidney and acting as a middleman between kidney buyers and desperate sellers.
Nguyen Duc Thang was arrested by police on charges of trading and misappropriating human organs after an investigation uncovered that he had sold one of his kidneys for VND250 million ($10,750) as well as sought at potential donors for would-be buyers.
Thang, 29, worked with the donors to ensure they filled out the paperwork needed to make a ‘donation’ in a manner that would ensure legal approval and coached donors on how to answer questions during medical examinations.
Documents declaring that transplants are a donation, rather than a sale, are typically faked or forged in Vietnam, where trafficking human tissue and organs is punishable with three to seven years in prison.
Donors who met health requirements were then offered VND230-270 million ($9,900-10,750) for a kidney, which was subsequently offered to potential buyers for VND260-290 million ($11,200-12,500).
He confessed to the police that he had pocketed a total of VND60 million ($2,600) in profits from selling two kidneys.
In late October, the man rented a four-story building in the capital’s Long Bien District to house ten would-be donors until their renal transplant operations.
Authorities raided the building on December 4 and took Thang and eight accomplices into custody. A gun and three machetes were seized during the raid.
Black market organs are nothing new to Vietnam.
Just two months earlier police arrested a group of people in northern Vietnam for successfully trafficking kidneys on three separate occasions.