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South Korean police say they are investigating an organized crime group that sends patients to China for organ transplants. The Chinese regime banned organ transplant tourism in 2007, but the practice continues with people willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to skip the long waiting lists for an organ. An investigation has raised the issue that some Chinese organs may have been taken from prisoners of conscience.
South Korean authorities say an organized crime group has been sending South Korean patients to China for organ transplants. Police arrested one man on Monday and three others are under investigation.
According to South Korean police, the crime group has sourced organs for 94 liver cancer sufferers since 2006. They sneak patients into mainland China, giving them false Chinese identifications to undergo transplant surgery. The men collected more than $85,000 for each transplant. Four of the patients died after surgery.
[Byoungjin Lee, Bushan Dep. Policeman]:
"It appears the patients want to source organs quicker, so they turned their sights overseas."
The South Korean crime group worked with contacts inside mainland China. The Chinese regime outlawed organ tourism in 2007. Despite the ban, cases of foreigners traveling to China for organs transplants are common. Organized criminals falsify documents to pass patients off as Chinese citizens to get around the ban.
Organ transplants are controversial in China. The Chinese regime boasts one of the largest organ transplant programs in the world, despite having extremely limited organ donors due to cultural reasons. The regime openly uses organs from executed prisoners—but has not disclosed the number of prisoners who are executed.
International rights advocates have also accused the Chinese regime for profiting from selling organs.