A Hanoi court Thursday sentenced Tran Van Phuong, 31, to 12 years and six months in prison for brokering six kidney trades.
Tran Van Phuong (in blue) stands trial in Hanoi for brokering kidney trades, February 13, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Hoa.
The indictment said that a difficult life pushed Phuong to go to Cambodia and sell one of his kidneys. Upon returning to Vietnam, he learned that there were many kidney failure patients who wanted to buy kidneys for transplant as well as many poor people who were willing to sell their kidneys for money. This prompted him to organize a kidney brokering ring.
Between April and September 2018, Phuong used a Facebook account under the name “Tran Bui” with his phone number to look for kidney sellers under the guise of needing kidney donors.
Those wanting to sell their kidneys were taken to one of two houses on Giai Phong and Dinh Cong Thuong streets in the capital city, where they were fed and looked after.
Under the agreement between Phuong and the sellers, the latter would be paid VND240-320 million ($10,300-13,700) per kidney. Once Phuong found a suitable kidney failure patient, he would sell the kidneys for VND320-450 million each and pocket the difference.
In total, Phuong successfully brokered six kidney trades for an illegal gain of nearly VND500 million, prosecutors told the court.
The court found him guilty of “trading in human tissues or body parts” which carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment. However, it handed Phuong the lighter sentence of 12 years and six months as he was determined to have suffered a 45 percent physical disability from selling his own kidney.
Organ trafficking schemes in Vietnam are fueled by the shortage of donations, as many people in the country believe they need all their body parts for the afterlife. The belief has left thousands of patients suffering from heart, kidney, liver and lung diseases, as also visual impairment, waiting a long time for donations.