A young man who sold one of his kidneys as a teenager on the black market in order to buy a new iPhone and iPad is now disabled, bedbound and needing constant care, according to recent reports on Chinese media.
The 25-year-old man, known by his surname Wang, had his kidney removed in an underground clinic before selling it on the black market for 22,000 yuan (£2,528) in 2011 when he was just 17 years old.
The teenager wanted an iPhone and iPad desperately in order to prove to his classmates that he was trendy, but his cash-strapped parents could not afford them.
His story shocked the country at the time, leading iPhones to be billed as ‘kidney machines’ by web users.
In order to raise funds for his gadgets, the high school student found three middlemen on a Chinese online chatting platform QQ, who promised to help him realise his dream – but at the cost of one kidney.
He organised his travels secretly and neither of his parents was aware of his plan.
Upon his arrival, the middlemen introduced the boy to two surgeons, one surgeon’s assistant and one nurse, all of who worked at local hospitals and were moonlighting.
An operation soon took place at an uncertified clinic provided by one middleman to remove the right kidney from Wang, according to a report on CCTV.com at the time.
The kidney was then sold to a patient by the middlemen illegally and the recipient paid 150,000 yuan (£17,258) as well as $10,000 (£7,860) for the organ.
Wang was paid 22,000 yuan – 10 per cent of the total profit – while the middlemen kept the majority of the money.
The boy immediately bought an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2 with the money before returning to Anhui Province.
His mother only discovered the situation when she saw him with his new digital products. She wondered where he had got the money and Wang told her he had sold his kidney.
His mother called the police.
After the operation, Wang’s health quickly deteriorated. He suffered from renal deficiency and later became disabled, according to CCTV.com citing a report from local news site VOC.
In April 2012, nine people involved in the case including the three middlemen and two doctors were charged by public prosecutors in the city of Chenzhou where the operation took place.
The three middlemen were jailed for three to five years and the two doctors were jailed for three years each.
Wang’s family were given 1.47 million yuan (£169,000) as compensation, the court ruled in November 2012 as reported by Xiaoxiang Morning Post.
Seven years later after selling his kidney, Wang’s life has become extremely difficult.
The man, who used to be a good-looking 6ft3in teenager, has to lie in bed day in day out, relying on his family to look after him, reported Chinese website iFeng and Yahoo News in Taiwan.
He had to forsake his studies and was living on social benefits, the article said.
He is also said to suffer from renal failure and need regular dialysis.
Apple products were once the most desirable electronic gadgets in China, but were priced beyond the reach of many people in the country. The price for an iPhone is often the whole month’s salary of an office worker in a big city.
The Apple craze has slowed down significantly after products from several Chinese home-grown tech firms, such as Huawei, became popular. Huawei beat Apple to become the world’s second largest smartphone maker last August.
Most recently, an anti-Apple phenomenon has been spotted in the country after the an executive of Huawei was last December arrested in Canada at the request of the United States.
Many Chinese companies have been reported to punish staff who wish to buy Apple products and reward those who use Huawei handsets.