German firm accused of trade in human organs
14 November 2007, Frankfurt - A private German-registered firm is being accused of importing transplantable human organs via a Hong Kong office and an Israeli doctor, prosecutors confirmed Wednesday.
14 November 2007
Frankfurt - A private German-registered firm is being accused of importing transplantable human organs via a Hong Kong office and an Israeli doctor, prosecutors confirmed Wednesday.
It is a criminal offence in Germany for doctors or sick people to pay for organs from living donors, and to sell them.
Frankfurt prosecutions spokeswoman Doris Moeller-Scheu said an official inquiry had begun into Germany China Medical. The premises of a firm that provides office addresses for paper companies were searched Tuesday.
A German television channel, ZDF, had previously reported that Germany China Medical, based in Hong Kong, was offering operations and organs in the Philippines and Colombia for high prices, such as 95,000 euros (139,000 dollars) for a liver from Colombia.
It said a reporter posing as a patient spoke to a doctor in Israel who claimed the operation would be legal in Colombia.
Moeller-Scheu said the traffickers appeared to have a paper company with links to Hong Kong, Israel and South America, but she declined to say what was in any of the seized documents.
She said the inquiry would be difficult because full assistance would be needed from other countries with different laws.
Because of the danger that poor people will sacrifice extra organs, or be killed for them, German law prescribes a prison term of up to five years for patients who pay for organs.
Instead, the rich patients must wait for an unpaid donor, living or dead, to offer the needed body part. The German law also applies to German citizens abroad.
Subject: German news