Five people in southern China have been charged with intentional injury after illegally buying one of the kidneys of a teenage boy, who used the money at least in part for an iPhone and an iPad, according to state media.
The five, including a surgeon, removed the organ in April 2011 from the 17-year-old high school student from China's Anhui province. The teenager is now suffering from renal insufficiency, Xinhua reported.
The boy's condition is deteriorating, it said.
One of the defendants, a man named He Wei, was described as "penniless and frustrated over gambling debts" and allegedly "sought to make enormous earnings through illegal kidney trading," the news agency reported.
It said the men identified donors through online chat rooms and conducted the operation at a hospital.
A man named Song Zhongyu, a surgeon from a provincial hospital in Yunnan province, received nearly $35,000 in the deal, while the boy was given about $3,500, Xinhua said.
Wang later confessed to his mother when she confronted him about where he got the money for the Apple products, the news agency said.
According to China's Ministry of Health, about 1.5 million people in the country are in need of transplants, and yet only 10,000 transplants are performed each year, Xinhua reported.