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Chinese Court Convicts 15 People in Kidney-Harvesting Case

BEIJING - A Chinese court has convicted 15 people — including doctors and recruiters — of illegally harvesting and selling 51 kidneys, according to local reports. Donors reportedly received about $4,000, but the organ itself would eventually be sold for about $35,000, the Beijing Times and China Youth Net reported on Friday. In one five-month period the group harvested 23 kidneys, netting the the group more than $250,000 in profits.

The gang's leader was sentenced to 12 years in jail, while his accomplices received prison terms ranging from three-and-half years to nine years, according to the reports. The harvested organs were kept on ice and driven 500 miles to Beijing with the transplants being done at an unidentified “top hospital” in Beijing, the court heard.

IN-DEPTH

- Eric Baculinao

Zhou Chaojie of NBC News contributed to this report