Teen Who Sold His Kidney For iPhone Is Now Bedridden For Life

by : Emily Brown on : 15 Nov 2020 14:44
Teen Who Sold His Kidney For iPhone Is Now Bedridden For LifeInformOverload/YouTube/Pixabay

A teenager who sold his kidney in order to buy an iPhone has likely been left bedridden for life after suffering renal deficiency.

Wang Shangkun was 17 years old when he decided to sell the vital organ on the black market in exchange for roughly the equivalent of $3,200.


The teenager, whose family lived in one of China’s poorest provinces, wanted to buy an iPad 2, but didn’t have enough money to afford the device. While he was on the internet one day he received a message from an organ harvester in an online chatroom, who told him he could get 20,000 yuan ($3,000) for selling the organ.


Recalling the situation to China Network Television, per Vice, Shangkun said he underwent illegal surgery in the central Hunan province to have his right kidney removed and delivered to an unknown recipient.

The surgery was reportedly carried out by two doctors who were also employed at local hospitals.


At the time, the teen asked: ‘Why do I need a second kidney? One is enough’, and following the sale he used the money to buy an iPad 2 and an iPhone 4.

When he returned home with his new devices, Shangkun’s mother grew suspicious and forced him to confess what he’d done.

According to BBC News, his mother said:


When my son came home he had a laptop computer and an Apple phone. I asked him where all the money for that came from. When he couldn’t keep it to himself any longer he finally told us. He said, ‘Mum, I sold my kidney.’ When he told me I felt like the sky was crashing down on our family.

Online iPadPixabay

After details of the trade emerged, nine people involved in the operation were arrested, five of who have since been charged with intentional injury and organ trading.

Those charged included the surgeon, the broker, the person who leased the operating room and those who were tasked with hunting for donors through online chat rooms, NPR reports.


Shangkun, who is now in his mid-twenties, later developed an infection in his remaining kidney which is thought to have been caused by the unsanitary location of the operation and the lack of post-operative care he was given.

Patient in hospital bedPixabay

He suffered renal deficiency, and his condition was so severe that he was rendered bedridden. Shangkun now has to undergo dialysis every day to clear his blood of the toxins that his remaining kidney can no longer handle.

After those involved in the harvesting operation were arrested, Shangkun’s family was reportedly awarded about $300,000 in compensation.


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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Apple, iPhone, operation


Vice and 2 others
  1. Vice

    Teen Who Sold a Kidney for an iPhone Is Now Bedridden for Life

  2. NPR

    Chinese Teen Sells Kidney For iPad And iPhone

  3. BBC News

    Chinese teenager 'sells kidney to buy iPad and iPhone'