- A Korean woman who planned to donate part of her liver in exchange for a job for her son was fined.
- A nurse became suspicious of the woman and reported her to authorities, The Hankyoreh reported.
- She asked a judge for clemency on the grounds she didn’t know she was breaking the law.
A woman who planned to donate part of her liver to a man in exchange for cash and a job for her son has been fined, a report said.
Koren publication The Hankyoreh reported that a Korean woman in her 50s, named Ms K, was reported when her extended stay in hospital after contracting COVID-19 attracted suspicion.
She had been tipped off in February that the chairman of a construction company was seriously ill and required a liver transplant. She met with an employee, called Mr N, who had gone to school with the company’s president – who was also the chairman’s son.
Ms K reportedly agreed to donate part of her liver in exchange for 100 million won ($77,000) and a job for her son, per The Hankyoreh.
The outlet reported that Ms K entered hospital on March 7 to have tests before making the donation, and was added to the organ donor register a week later.
She later entered hospital for the surgery, but tested positive for COVID-19, delaying the procedure. In the interim, a nurse grew concerned about the nature of the pair’s relationship and reported the woman for organ trafficking.
The surgery was then canceled. The chairman died in July while an investigation was carried out, per The Hankyoreh.
Their agreement was found to have breached South Korea’s organ transplant act, which states: “No person shall give, receive or promise to give or receive money, financial gain.”
A court ordered Ms K to pay a fine of 3 million won ($2,343), while Mr N was given a six-month prison sentence — suspended for two years. An accomplice received a one-year sentence.
The Hankyoreh reported that Ms K asked the judge for clemency on the basis that she didn’t know she was breaking the law.
“I thought my son would be able to get a job if the operation was a success. I also got greedy because they promised to give me money,” Ms K reportedly said during the trial, per The Hankyoreh.
The judge said: “Organ removal and transplant is strictly prohibited by law in light of the fact that it can undermine public health and endanger the health and lives of both the donor and the recipient when conducted illegally. Since the defendants’ actions are in violation of this, they cannot avoid punishment under criminal law.”