A Chinese man is now bedridden for life after he sold one of his kidneys as a teenager to the black market to buy the latest Apple products.
Wang Shangkun was 17 when he made the fateful decision. Shortly after the illegal surgery he began suffering from a decreased level kidney function.
Eight years on, the 25-year-old is bedridden and in need of daily dialysis after his remaining organ failed.
Shangkun sold his kidney to black market organ harvesters in April 2011 for 22,000 RMB ($4800) — purchasing a iPhone 4 and iPad 2 with the funds.
“Why do I need a second kidney? One is enough,” he said in reports at the time.
The illegal surgery is believed to have led to an infection due to the unsanitary setting of where it took place and the apparent lack of post-operative care, Mirror UK reported. This caused him to develop renal deficiency.
The operation occurred in the central province of Hunan without his parents’ consent. It was reportedly undertaken by two doctors who worked at the local hospitals.
Chinese newspaper Xinhua reported at the time that Wang first made contact with the alleged harvesters through internet chat rooms.
He Wei, reportedly the leader of the gang, made arrangements to hire a surgeon who worked at a nearby military hospital.
Speaking to CNTV.cn, Wang said: “At the time, I wanted to buy an iPad2, but I didn’t have any money.”
“When I was on the internet, I had a kidney agent send a message, saying that selling a kidney can give me 22,000.”
Nine people were arrested in connection with the case and five, including the surgeons who harvested his kidney, were jailed in 2012.
His family was awarded 1.47 million RMB in compensation later the same year, the Mirror reported.
Wang wanted the new iPhone in order to show off to his friends, but as his family come from one of China’s poorest provinces he could not afford it.