From time to time, we heard about spine-chilling stories of kidney theft in various forms. There's some competing views out there, but I don't know which one to believe.

One negative point of view is that kidney theft is nothing more than an urban legend. For a determined criminal, compared to the benefit that correlates with the market price of a kidney, the cost of preforming such an operation is prohibitively high. Moreover, no victim has ever been confirmed.

But there's also some supporting views. The estimated black market price of kidney may not be reliable. How much is a desperate patient is willing to pay to extend his or her life for 20 years or even longer? Probably no victim will survive after their kidney is stolen and that's why we have no confirmed victim. It's rare, but did it happen?


1 Answer 1


The NY Times reported on it in 2008
"Kidney Thefts Shock India"

Mr. Mohammed was the last of about 500 Indians whose kidneys were removed by a team of doctors running an illegal transplant operation, supplying kidneys to rich Indians and foreigners, police officials said. A few hours after his operation last Thursday, the police raided the clinic and moved him to a government hospital.

Many of the donors were day laborers, like Mr. Mohammed, picked up from the streets with the offer of work, driven to a well-equipped private clinic, and duped or forced at gunpoint to undergo operations. Others were bicycle rickshaw drivers and impoverished farmers who were persuaded to sell their organs, which is illegal in India.

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    I remember hearing about the arrests but not any subsequent court trials. But the NYT claims that it's happened before in India, so +1. Feb 16, 2013 at 21:24
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    Thank you. NY times is a relatively reliable source. Karl Marx is right on the fact that high profit drive people to do horrendous things. Feb 17, 2013 at 2:14
  • They might rationalize that they're saving lives.
    – Max
    Feb 17, 2013 at 2:32

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