Human organ trader duo sentenced

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Two human organ traders were sentenced yesterday by a Beijing court for their roles in deals worth 470,000 yuan (US$ 71,407).

Liu Yunlu, 31, a jobless man from north China's Hebei Province, received a seven-year sentence. Dong Binggang, 25, a farmer from northwest China's Shaanxi Province, who was judged to have played a minor role in the business, was given a two-year suspended sentence.

Liu was ordered to pay a fine of 100,000 yuan and Dong 30,000 yuan, reported Legal Evening News yesterday.

Liu traveled to Beijing in 2008, after seeing online posts about the illegal human organ trade and deciding to become a donor. Unable to find a match, he became a middleman, officials said.

He got to know Dong, who was desperate for money to help his ailing mother, through online chat services.

Liu arranged for Dong to donate a kidney for 30,000 yuan in January 2009. The recipient told the court that she paid the pair 150,000 yuan, including 40,000 yuan for the operation fee.

Later, Li persuaded Dong to become a broker, promising him 5,000 yuan for each donor he found, plus a monthly salary of 2,000 yuan.

They continued to find more donors and in turn convince them to become brokers. As business expanded, the pair rented apartments in Beijing and Hebei Province to accommodate some 20 would-be donors they found through online forums and instant messaging services.

One donor, named Li Guogang, agreed to sell part of his liver to a patient in a hospital in Tianjin City in January 2009. The recipient paid them 200,000 yuan.

Liu and Dong also found a donor prepared to give his kidney to a patient in central China's Hunan Province in April 2009. They received 118,000 yuan for this deal.

The pair pleaded guilty at court.

China banned the sale of human organs in 2007. However, demand is huge, leading to a lucrative black market.

A Ministry of Health report last year showed some 1.5 million patients are awaiting transplants. Only 1 percent could find a donor.

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