REMEMBER EIGHT YEARS AGO when reports did the rounds of a Chinese teenager selling his kidney to online organ brokers - a term that we really wish didn't exist - in order to fund an iPhone 4S and an iPad 2? You'll be utterly unsurprised to hear that the story didn't have a happy ending.
Not only was Xiao Wang, now 25, thoroughly ripped off - paid only around £1,900 for an organ that reportedly sold for £25,000 - but eight years later, he unsurprisingly regrets the transaction. Doubly unsurprising, because Wang is apparently now suffering from renal failure, bed bound and unable to work.
"At the time, I wanted to buy an iPad 2, but I didn't have any money," Wang told CNTV (Google Translate link). "When I was on the Internet, I had a kidney agent to send a message, saying that selling a kidney can give me 20,000."
To get Apple's latest tablets and phones, the prices paid to Wang back in 2011 would barely cover one or the other. The new iPhone XS starts at £999, while the cheapest new iPad Pro goes for £769 and shoots all the way up to £1,869 with all the bells and whistles added. Apple doesn't sell the iPhone 4S or iPad 2 any more, but suffice it to say you can get them for a lot less now, while the online kidney market (again: we're sorry this is a widely-understood phrase) has only increased, according to black market research firm Havocscope.
There's not much to feel too cheerful about this story, except with some seven-year-old news: nine people were eventually brought to justice over the illegal organ harvesting, and Wang's family received a payout of 1.47 million yuan (around £169,000) in compensation.
But if there's a moral to this tale, then it's this fairly obvious one: no gadget is worth sacrificing organs for. Really. µ
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