Gambling debt almost costs Shanghai man his kidney

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 July, 2004, 12:00am

Shanghai's loan sharks have upped the ante in the repayment game, demanding their customers sell off body parts to raise money.

The city is now prosecuting a moneylender who tried to force a man to sell a kidney to pay off a gambling debt, a local newspaper and a court official said yesterday.

Gambler Lu Rongfeng was held hostage for more than 10 days by two men after he was unable to pay back a 10,000-yuan loan, which carried interest of 500 yuan per day.

'This was the beginning of his nightmare,' the Shanghai Daily quoted a prosecutor as saying. A court official confirmed that the case, which opened on Wednesday, was under way but declined to comment further.

Li Shenghe and an accomplice who is still at large allegedly took Mr Lu to a local hospital late last year to collect the debt. Doctors refused to perform the operation and Mr Lu managed to escape.

Earlier this year, Shanghai media reported about alleged illegal organ sales, based on advertisements in local hospitals looking for people to sell their organs.