HCMC authorities crack down on kidney trading network.

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    Oct 26, 2023

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4 men in Ho Chi Minh City arrested for running an illegal kidney trading ring, making $485,000 in a year.


According to an update from the Binh Chanh District police on Tuesday, individuals named Bui Tien Luc (37), Tran Thanh Hoa (32), Nguyen Thanh Phong (33), and Phan Thanh Hai (27) are currently under investigation for their alleged involvement in illicit activities related to the trading of human body parts.

In 2017, Luc, a resident hailing from Ninh Binh Province in the northern region, found himself in a financial predicament. In an effort to alleviate his monetary struggles, he resorted to posting an online advertisement offering to sell one of his kidneys.

A mysterious individual reached out to him, extending an offer of VND250 million. Intrigued, Luc decided to travel to HCMC to finalize the transaction. It was during his time there that he had the opportunity to meet and get acquainted with three other individuals.

In early last year, they made the decision to establish a kidney trading network after several years.

The process involved in their operations included tracking potential kidney sellers through social media platforms and proposing payments ranging from VND260-400 million. Subsequently, they would search for patients or their families who were in urgent need of a kidney transplant, presenting them with an opportunity to acquire one at a cost between VND400 million-1.1 billion.

The ring ensures that individuals who sell their kidneys are adequately supported during their wait for the kidney transplant, offering them essential provisions such as food and accommodation.

In order to comply with legal regulations, the gang resorted to fabricating various documents including marriage and birth certificates, as well as local government authorizations for the transplant.

In a span of slightly over a year, they accomplished 28 deals and effectively conducted 13 transplants, resulting in a remarkable earnings of VND12 billion.

The initial breakthrough in uncovering the ring was made by journalists hailing from HCMC Law newspaper. It was through a clue provided by an individual who had previously sold a kidney that they first stumbled upon this lead. Following this revelation, these astute journalists commenced an extensive investigation, meticulously gathering substantial evidence to support their findings.

Following their initial investigation, the police further expanded their efforts and successfully identified sellers and buyers hailing from various regions across the country.

Official data reveals that in Vietnam, over five million individuals suffer from chronic kidney disease, with a staggering 100,000 individuals requiring daily dialysis treatment.

Social insurance provides coverage specifically for dialysis expenses, leaving individuals responsible for the costs associated with receiving a transplant.

Individuals suffering from kidney failure are required to undergo a registration process and wait patiently for a suitable legal donor, a procedure that often extends several months or even longer due to the alarming scarcity of available donors.

The consequences have led numerous patients to gradually lose faith and resort to the illicit market.

Often, donors and receivers are unaware of each other's backgrounds or circumstances in many situations.

In Vietnam, organ donation is considered a sensitive issue due to cultural beliefs revolving around the afterlife. Many individuals firmly believe in the notion of being fully prepared for the afterlife upon death, which makes organ donation a taboo topic. Consequently, the occurrence of black market kidney transactions is not uncommon in the country.

As per law enforcement authorities, individuals engaged in kidney trafficking typically conduct approximately 30 to 50 transactions annually.

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