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Pakistani gang arrested for stealing kidneys
May 26, 2007 / 10:28 AM / 11 years ago

Pakistani gang arrested for stealing kidneys

By Sil Khan

LAHORE, Pakistan, May 26 (Reuters) - Pakistani police have arrested nine people, four of them doctors, for abducting people, drugging them and stealing their kidneys for transplant operations, police said on Saturday.

Selling kidneys from living donors is not illegal in Pakistan, which medical experts say has a reputation as the world’s "kidney bazaar".

But police said those arrested in the eastern city of Lahore tricked people then drugged them before removing their kidneys.

"These poor people were given tranquillisers and were deprived of their kidneys without their consent," Lahore police chief Malik Mohammad Iqbal told Reuters.

Hundreds of rich foreigners come to Pakistan every year and buy kidneys from live, impoverished donors, in a business thought to be worth millions of dollars.

Pakistan has no law governing the trade in organs but one is going through parliament aimed at ending their sale.

Police raided a house in a Lahore suburb on Friday after a young man managed to escape from it and raised the alarm.

Ten people were found detained in the house and four of them had already had a kidney removed, police said.

"These people are not volunteers. They were duped. They were promised jobs by these criminals," Iqbal said.

The doctors, from two private hospitals, were arrested late on Friday on suspicion of involvement.

"The doctors have been arrested on charges that these operations were carried out in their hospitals without the consent of the people," Iqbal said.

"The investigation will reveal how far they were involved in this heinous crime," he said.

Muneer, a 36-year-old labourer, said in a complaint to police he had gone with a man who had promised him a job but ended up in a hospital with a kidney missing.

"They gave me some injections and I fell unconscious. When I woke up I found myself in a hospital with my kidney removed," he said in his complaint, seen by Reuters.

Mohammad Arif, 22, was the person who escaped from the house and raised the alarm.

"They promised me a job but instead brought me to a house where I was kept for about 15 days with the other people before I ran away," Arif told Reuters.

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