Vietnamese kidney broker arrested in Hanoi

By Phuong Son   June 20, 2020 | 01:16 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese kidney broker arrested in Hanoi
Nguyen Manh Hung, 38, at a police station in Hanoi, June 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Son Phuong.

A man has been arrested for brokering kidney deals for patients in need at a military hospital in Hanoi.

Hanoi police caught 38-year-old Nguyen Manh Hung red-handed Wednesday when he was hosting two kidney sellers in a hotel in Phuc La Ward, Ha Dong District.

Since last June, Hung had been working at a construction site inside the Military Hospital 103 in the district. The job allowed him to meet patients who needed kidney transplants. Hung, aware there were people willing to sell their kidneys, decided to become an organ broker.

He rented hotels in Phuc La Ward where he looked after and fed kidney sellers, promising them VND250-300 million ($10,750-12,900) per kidney once the transplant was successful.

Vietnam’s gross national income (GNI) per capita in 2019 was almost $2,800.

Preliminary investigations show that since last November Hung had successfully brokered kidneys for many people, but the police have only been able to get details of two cases so far.

In one case, Hung arranged for a 27-year-old man from the northern province of Thai Binh to sell his kidney to a 41-year-old female patient in the central province of Nghe An, charging her VND350 million ($15,000) late last year.

Hung kept VND100 million for himself and gave the rest to the organ donor.

In another case in March this year, he hosted a 32-year-old man from Hanoi in a hotel and sold his kidney to a 27-year-old male patient from Ha Tinh Province in central Vietnam.

On April 8, when the transplant was conducted successfully at Military Hospital 103, Hung was paid VND480 million and gave the donor VND280 million.

Hung is being investigated for "trading human body parts," an offense that can be punished with life imprisonment.

Organ trafficking schemes in Vietnam are fueled by a shortage of donations, as many people in the country believe they need all their body parts for the afterlife. This belief potentially deprives thousands of patients, suffering from heart, kidney, liver and lung diseases as also visual impairments, of timely, life-saving solutions.

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