back to article Kidney-for-iPad fanboi sues after illness strikes

An 18-year-old Chinese lad who used money from selling one of his kidneys to buy an iPhone and iPad 2 is now suing for compensation of 2.27 million yuan (£227,785). The misguided fanboi from Anhui province, surnamed Wang, was 17 when he agreed to the illegal transplant procedure in April 2011. In total, he received just 22,000 …


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  1. Turtle

    What to say.

    "The men are now on trial for illegal organ trading and causing intentional injury and could face up to 10 years in prison, according to the China Daily."

    One hardly knows what to say about a story like this.

    I have two conflicting urges here. One is to ridicule this extremely stupid kid. Because he deserves to be ridiculed, really. The other is to point out that 10 years a piece is not enough for the people responsible for this - leaving aside for the moment that the kid himself is not blameless. But then, this kid is going to suffer all his life and end up in an early grave thanks to some people who needed to pay off gambling debts.

    Still the kid was 17 years old and legally not an adult capable of giving informed consent (assuming the law in China is like our own in this matter, which might well be an erroneous assumption.)

    Then again, a 17 year old who would sell a kidney for an iPad and an iPhone is a very stupid 17 year old - and so we are back again at approximately the same place from which we started, even if stupidity is no fit excuse to take advantage of a stupid 17 year old kid in that way.

    Still, if selling one's organs were legal here in the west, we would have people selling their kidneys too, and for reasons just as trivial. And they would go on television to tell the world about it, I am quite sure. But the sums involved in the initial transaction, and/or possible television appearances or sales of movie rights etc, and especially lawsuits, would generate far more income that what that kid's going to get in China, I would guess... and it would be very surprising if he manages to get £227,785 out of the perpetrators, unless the actual recipient of the kidney is both very wealthy and not politically connected.

    Well, like I said, one hardly knows what to say about a story like this.

    1. FozzyBear

      Re: What to say.

      I do..This situation is seriously FUBAR' ed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What to say.

      Let's for a moment forget he is 17. Laws on 'self-determination' differ across the globe, for all kinds of reasons.

      If you discount age, what is left is 'the right to be stupid'. The argument is that if someone wants to sell an organ (this includes musical instruments) they should have the right to do so.

      There's TWO things wrong with it. Firstly, it is a choice which will be made by poor people. I can virtually guarantee you no one with a fat wallet will ever consider it out of principle. EVER. They may do it for free for a number of reasons, but just because they can make a few bucks out of it ? To quote Lenny Henry : 'I - don't - think - so'.

      Which brings us to number two. Let's say there are complications. Or, in the extreme case, the kid needs a new kidney himself in 20 years.

      He will then apply to his health insurance, public or private, will be consulting doctors and hospitals (in the case of China paid for by the taxpayer) and using medication at least partially refunded by health in-sewer-ants, paid for by people not exercising their right to be stupid.

      So he privatised the bonus, but cleverly deferred the malus to society. I find this somewhat unacceptable.

      You may excersise your right to be stupid all you want. But you carry the consequences yourself. Don't ask society to foot the bill if the excrement hits the forced air circulator.

      1. John A Blackley

        Re: What to say.

        @ Peter R. 1: "Firstly, it is a choice which will be made by poor people."

        Are you saying that we should protect poor people from the choices they have to make?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What to say.

          Ah, the reversal of argument ploy ! And not deserving of 5 downvotes, might I add. But it's a politicians argument.

          The 'choice' of selling bodyparts for money is NOT, as stated in the argument, a question of self determination. I put it to you that people, given the 'true' free choice (i.e. not influenced by any other factor than their own philosophical or moral standpoint) will NEVER sell organs because of the 'constitutional right to make money'.

          You can never protect people from their own stupidity. They will always find new and lever ways to be stupid.

          But their is no argument to be made for the selling of organs on a moral or philosophical basis. It should, therefor, not be allowed.

          If people need to sell their organs in order to survive, there are surely different measures necessary than allowing them to sell body parts.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: What to say.

      "Well, like I said, one hardly knows what to say about a story like this."

      As you managed just short of 350 words, I presume we'll get a doctoral thesis when you do know what to say?

  2. tkioz

    Time to file a class-action suit because this moron is tainting the air the rest of us breath...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You forfeit your rights to air,

      as you fail to spell the word 'breathe'. You have absolutely no room to call anybody else a moron.

    2. Thomas 4


      The thing is, I wouldn't necessarily class the guy as a moron - please let me finish

      He was greedy, certainly. An iPad or iPhone is not essential to survival in the same way that an internal organ is but he wanted one badly enough to go through with it.

      But the main thing was that he was astonishingly naive. He thought that the majority of the money, let's say 70% of it, would be going to him. This was his first assumption. He didn't think that organ traders are there to make a big profit - it's a risky business after all, as this adventure has shown. The trader in question is going to want more than a couple of grand if he's going to be risking serious jail time or even having a dead body on his hands.

      Then our naive friend forgot about kickbacks - an operation, even an illegal one, isn't just carried out by one person. There are nurses, equipment costs, bribes to ensure that critical bits of paperwork get misfiled, storing and transporting the organ. Again, all of these carry risks and the people involved are going to want a share of the profits.

      The final and possibily fatal assumption our friend made was relying on the internet for accurate medical info. Yes, it is possible to survive with one kidney but suddenly losing a major organ causes a massive system shock that *will* damage everything connected to it - including that sole kidney you plan to live another 50 years on, incident free.

      He was naive and he was taken advantage of and I suspect that's a buyer's remorse that's going to haunt him long after his new toy has ceased to function. =/

      1. Thorne

        Re: *sigh*

        Still an idiot. A fool and their kidney are soon parted.

  3. oldtaku

    What Chinese person is worth £227,785 to China unless they're party apparatchik? More like £10.

  4. Ketlan

    Re' Turtle's comment

    Seventeen or seventy, two thousand or two million quid, it doesn't matter. The guy's a f**king idiot.

  5. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Merely giving up a kidney doesn't make him an idiot.

    After all, in the UK alone there are hundreds of living donors who have done the same - for free!

    It seems that the actual donation part was not done all that well - either he wasn't really a suitable donor or some aspect of surgery or aftercare was botched or poor.

    Good luck to him though - most teens do at least one spectacularly stupid thing, just most get away with it.

    I can think of a lot of adults who would probably have been taken in by this kind of thing - most of the people on the Jeremy Kyle show, to begin with.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Had the iPad 3 been out he would probably have sold both his kidneys.

      Strangely, no cases like this have arisen where the finger has been pointed at an Andriod device.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm

        Strangely, no cases like this have arisen where the finger has been pointed at an Andriod device

        Obviously not as desirable..

        (donning flame proof underwear :) )

        1. BorkedAgain

          Re: Re: Hmm

          > Obviously not as desirable..

          That's one interpretation. Another might be that someone who's keen on getting the latest droid kit would be less likely to sell a kidney to finance the transaction? Leaving aside the likelihood that they'd need to.

          Apple Marketing must be busting to get their kit described as "to die for. Literally."

          So glad our own teenagers have limited their learning experiences to borrowing the car without asking, drunken vomiting on mum's shoes, you know, the usual...

      2. Thorne

        Re: Hmm

        "Strangely, no cases like this have arisen where the finger has been pointed at an Andriod device."

        Android users are not that stupid

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Merely giving up a kidney doesn't make him an idiot.

      It seems that the actual donation part was not done all that well - either he wasn't really a suitable donor or some aspect of surgery or aftercare was botched or poor.

      It was a blackmarket 'donation', so no aftercare (to speak of) and you get to be cut by whichever doctor the organisers have found. Hell, for all you know, that 'doctor' could be a dentist!

      So the act of 'donating' a kidney may not have been stupid, but given that sales will always be illegal over there (meaning it's gonna be a blackmarket job) the act of selling your kidney is a stupid thing to do.

      You're right though, there probably are quite a number of people over here who would have done the self-same thing.

  6. James O'Brien


    "The mother doesn’t believe that a love of all things Apple motivated her son to seek out a kidney surgeon on the black market, however."

    Say what? Doesn't believe? Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhkaaaaayyy....*

    Have to say I smell something that typically comes from bulls in smelly brown loads. This kid is an idiot and deserves (yes I said DESERVES) everything that comes of this. How is it this kids mother didnt notice something sooner? Unless I am wrong, I'm not in this case as my mom lost a kidney due to cancer, the surgery takes a weee bit of time to heal.

    First of all the cash he was given is well below market share, he should have gone for more.

    Second he buys a jesusPhone and a fondlePad with said cash, he really should have waited and spent the case on an EDUCATION. That way he would have probaby had a slight inkling that he was about to do something retarded.

    Third it was Apple hardware. The least he could have done was making sure the hardware was under lockdown as Apple does with theirs.

    While this may sound like I have no sympathy for this idiot, that is because I don't have any. People donating an organ or something for a cause (like cancer or the such) thumbs up, those who do it for this paltry sum of money to waste on the jesusPhone and fondlePad just equals FAIL!!

    *Before you think I'm blaming Apple for this, you need to read the post. At no time did I accuse Apple of causing this except for making devices which tend to take people for a ride. (/flameon)

    1. John Latham

      Re: *blink*

      China Daily reported that '"The case is complicated and involves a juvenile, so it's not suitable for us to disclose more details," Huang Wujiang, who works at the court, said on Thursday.'

      But you don't need no complicated details, you have CAPS LOCK and a belly full of contempt.

      Your insightful and sympathetic analysis rather assumes the kid received objective medical advice. Instead, he was probably coerced into it by a corrupt surgeon and some dude who wanted to pay off his gambling debts.

      Perhaps they told him that it was a routine operation, he only needed one kidney and he'd get all proceeds from the sale.

      1. g e

        Re: *blink*

        So, a juvenile willingly participated in a criminal act which ended up with him getting iToys and a nasty infection can now sue his accomplices for a less-than-satisfactory outcome to the whole caper?

        I assume he's an accomplice rather than a victim as he wasn't abducted or anything and I also assume he knows organ shopping is illegal therefore a willing accomplice.

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: *blink*

      "Say what? Doesn't believe? Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhkaaaaayyy....* Have to say I smell something that typically comes from bulls in smelly brown loads."

      Funny. I smell a post by someone from half way around the world who probably doesn't speak the language of the people involved (and is thus cut off from any primary source) and is confident in pronouncing that they know more about this than the child's mother.

      The kid is seventeen. For all I know, he's slighly mentally disadvantaged, he was heavily lied to by people who were or he was told were physicians, he was pressured into it by someone who wanted to get out of gambling debts or any number of other possible explanations. But no - James O'Brien knows all!

      1. LaeMing

        Re: *blink*

        If my own experience teaching in China is anything to go by, at chronological age 17, he would have the social age of a western 14 year-old. They have a pretty sheltered childhood over there (in the middle-classes at least).

  7. Ketlan


    'I'm not in this case as my mom lost a kidney due to cancer, the surgery takes a weee bit of time to heal.'

    Damn right it does. I lost a kidney to cancer twenty-odd years ago. The op kept me in hospital for two weeks and left me with a two-foot scar and a few weeks of bloody painful recuperation before I was able to lead anything like a normal life. To volunteer to go through this to help someone stay alive is one thing - to do it for money is another thing entirely.

    I say again - the kid's a f**king idiot.

  8. pctechxp

    Proof that

    greed will be your undoing, unless you are a banker of course.

  9. Def Silver badge

    220,000 yuan for a kidney?

    They're taking the piss.

  10. Alistair MacRae

    I dread to think of all the stupid things I did when I was 17

    I did lots of stupid things and I expect I had lot more money than this kid from China. I think he’s been taken advantage of and needs some help sorting things out.

    The people who convinced him to do this should be put in prison.

  11. Poyol

    This article is hard to stomach ...

  12. Chronos
    Thumb Up

    The problem:

    Three variants of the iPad but only two kidneys. This is not a sustainable business model for iFans.

  13. Callam McMillan

    Darwin Award candidate perhaps? He's worth at least a honourable mention!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how long until we have an iKidney?

    1. Thorne

      "how long until we have an iKidney?"

      Yeah but he'd have to sell his liver to buy it

      1. Often Confused

        What about an iLiver then?

        I'll get my coat....

  15. ukgnome

    WANG by name

    Wang by nature

  16. LinkOfHyrule

    WTF indeed

    Jeeze, I'm not even going to make my customary Apple / Fanboi bashing jokes in comment to this - this is just a sad situation. What the fuck is up with these sick fuck organ traders! Fuck you, you sick fucks!

    1. Thorne

      Re: WTF indeed

      Rich white bloke needs a kidney. Poor dumb kid wants some money to waste. Surgeon has gambling debts. It's a match made in heaven.

      Only way it will end is if they work out how to clone body parts. No need for the dumb kid anymore.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardly iPod/Pad/Phone driven..

    ... if he was was looking for a £21,971 pay-off.

    Not really an Apple story then, is it?

    Unless the organ removed was a liver.......

  18. Patrick R
    Thumb Down

    Yeah, let's have a laugh.

    Though used to El Reg's style, I find this article a bit light hearted for an extremely sad story about that poor (stupid) lad and his misery. The comments don't make it any better. Do we get an update when he dies ? Cheers an "Darwin Award!" ? Do we need a sort of new Godwin's law for mentionning Darwin Awards ?

    1. Callam McMillan

      Re: Yeah, let's have a laugh.

      What can you say. He had bits of his body cut out in return for the money to buy pieces of consumer electronics. That is the kind of gross stupidity which the Darwin Awards celebrates. Can't help but think it would have been ironic if someone had nicked his iDevices as he walked out the shop?

      1. Patrick R

        Re: the kind of gross stupidity which the Darwin Awards celebrates

        No. The award is intended to be funny and the candidate supposed to be dead or unable to reproduce. The guy has possibly been targeted as stupid by other people. He's still alive, suffering and there is nothing funny to that. Well you might think it is funny along with other readers downvoting me, but I don't.

  19. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Dont worry

    the guys who organised and did the job will soon be on their way to the organ banks themselves

  20. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Let's start with the fact that chap wasn't quite all there

    You're dealing with poverty and a not too bright individual.

    It is likely he was sold a life full of roses for handing in a part of himself of which "he had two anyway", without any consideration of the risks (I'm guessing here, but I don't think I'm wrong to suspect that no downsides featured in the discussion). It could also be we only see part of the story - I find it strange that the chap was handing in his kidney to solve someone else's gambling debts so he might have been helped along in his decision with some creative poker and some threats to what would happen to his family.

    You can laugh about this, but take the Apple toy out of the equation and it looks like the chap didn't have much of a chance and I feel sorry for him.

  21. Dick Emery

    Forget everything

    I would say forget everything about the lads decision etc. Face the fact. Organ harvesting for cash is immoral if not illegal (Not sure about China and it's laws on this). His decision to sell one of his organs may have been stupid but he should not have had that opportunity presented to him in the first place. They should also be chasing the surgeons who took it out and give them sentences for attempted murder (which may turn into actual murder if he dies).

    But this is China we are talking about here.

    This saddens and disgusts me. Such a messed up world we live in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Forget everything

      Why? I can cut bits off, I can punch holes in the rest. Why can't I sell what is obviously, and undeniably mine?

      I can donate blood, semen and bone marrow. Why can't I sell them?

      1. Lamont Cranston


        Why? Because then it would become legal to coerce the poor into parting with their organs, that's why. Didn't you read the story?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He sells a kidney for an iPad, I wouldn't sh*t on one.

    1. Soruk

      You've never had to use a Chinese toilet.

  23. Blunderbuss

    What a sad story

    Setting aside the trivial Apple bashing of a few small minded individuals, the main point here is that someone was duped into selling one of his major organs for a small cash incentive.

    Many people commenting here seem better informed of the facts than i could find on the story but fundamentally I find it a shame that the sort of people that carry out these organs for cash operations don't have more heat brought down on them sooner.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: What a sad story

      I think it could be an idea to forfeit the organs they sold. So that's a kidney each, thank you. And taken out under the same sanitary conditions as the original deed, of course.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I sold my teeth for an iPhone

    But at least it means I can give a better blowie

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      Re: I sold my teeth for an iPhone

      Could you have not just given toothed blowies but charged for them and then saved up for an iPhone instead?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I sold my teeth for an iPhone

        Aww dang - now I feel all stupid.

        Hmm maybe if I sell a kidney I could get some new teeth

  25. A J Stiles

    Better idea

    Human organs would be worth exactly £0 if they were routinely harvested after death, so that there was a surplus as opposed to a shortage.

    Dead people do not need their organs -- but living people do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better idea

      Nobody has much use for old or diseased organs, and young healthy ones are a lot harder to come by.

      1. Thorne

        Re: Better idea

        Smokers lungs beats no lungs and an old kidney beats no kidney. When your dying you'll take whatever you can get. If nothing else, it might keep you alive until a better one is available.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this makes no sense

    he should have stuck out for a 5 and a 3

    he should also get in touch with apple's advertising -

    what would you give to have one?

    don't get cut up if you can't afford one

  27. Craig 28

    Do remember...

    The kid's mother suspected he only bought the phone and tablet because he was nervous of being caught with that much money. He didn't necessarily go into the operation intending to buy an iPhone and iPad, if he was being pressured into a spur of the moment decision he didn't necessarily plan out what he was going to do with the money afterwards. A poor decision perhaps but if we allow people to be taken advantage of just because they're ill informed or absurdly naive we'd have people selling suitcases of bricks with "Macbook Air" scrawled on them at every street corner.

  28. Alan 6 Silver badge

    This isn't the worst trade in China

    illegal organ trade is not the worst of it, you want to read into the Chinese trade of baby corpses and still born foetuses, which are boiled up, dried and turned into dubious medicines.

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