Teen Who Sold His Kidney For An iPhone Is Bedridden For Life With Kidney Failure

In 2011, a teenager from China sold one of his kidneys so he could buy the latest iPhone device. At the time, Wang Shangkun was just 17-years-old and he decided to sell his kidney on the black market and the vital organ fetched $3,273 USD. He spent the money to buy an iPad 2 and an iPhone 4.

At the time of the surgery, Wang said, “Why do I need a second kidney? One is enough."

Shortly after selling his right kidney, Wang, who comes from the province of Anhui, told China Network Television that he had wanted to buy an iPad 2 but didn’t have enough money. He was then later approached by an organ harvester in an online chat room.

“When I was on the Internet, I had a kidney agent send a message, saying that selling a kidney can give me 20,000 [yuan],” he said.

Wang was subjected to an illegal surgery in the central Hunan province where he had his right kidney removed. He was never told anything about the recipient, and given the nature of the operation, those details are not available now.

When he came home with the brand new devices, his mother suspected that something was wrong and eventually after extensive questioning he confessed to her. The mother went to the police about the incident and the boy turned over the records of his conversations with the black market organ harvesters. After a lengthy investigation, nine people involved in the operation were arrested, and five have since been charged with intentional injury and organ trading.

After the suspects were arrested, Shangkun’s family was reportedly awarded about $300,000 in compensation.

Just months later, Wang developed an infection in his remaining kidney, and it was suspected that the illegal and unsanitary surgery was to blame.

China banned the trading of human organs in 2007, but the practice still continues to this day, as it does in other countries.

Mark Horowitz is a graduate of Brandeis University with a degree in political science. Horowitz could have had a job at one of the top media organizations in the United States, but when working as an intern, he found that the journalists in the newsroom were confined by the anxieties and sensibilities of their bosses. Horowitz loved journalism, but wanted more freedom to pursue more complex topics than you would find on the evening news. Around the same time, he began to notice that there was a growing number of independent journalists developing followings online by sharing their in-depth analysis of advanced or off-beat topics. It wasn't long before Horowitz quit his internship with a large New York network to begin publishing his own material online.