They would sell kidneys on Facebook: RAB

RAB has arrested five members of a criminal ring, including Shahidul Islam alias Mithu, the ring leader, for being involved in illegal kidney trading on social mediaProthom Alo

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested five members of a criminal ring, including Shahidul Islam alias Mithu, the ring leader, for being involved in illegal kidney trading on social media.

The elite force arrested them from Bhatara, Banashree and Mirpur of the capital after carrying out raids from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning.

The other four arrestees are Mizanur Rahman, 44, Al Mamun Mahedi, 27, Md Simon, 28 and Md. Rasel Hossain, 24.

Affidavit copies of agreements with various victims, a total of 14 passports including the victims' passports, various documents of kidney cross-matching, local and foreign currencies, photocopies of national identity cards of various persons, cheque books and ATM cards of various banks, fake seals of various government and private offices, blank stamps, CPU, mobile phone and SIM cards were seized from them.

RAB held a press conference regarding this at their media centre in the capital’s Karwan Bazar on Wednesday. Lieutenant colonel Abdullah Al Momen, the captain of RAB-1, said that there are 15-20 members of this kidney trading ring on social media.

They are divided into three groups, and buy and sell kidneys. It is learnt that these members in coordination with the gang involved in buying and selling of kidneys in the neighbouring country have sent over one hundred people to the neighbouring country.

Abdullah Al Momen said the first team of the cycle takes position in Dhaka and makes contact with people who need kidney transplantation or other related things on social media. The second group of the cycle is in charge of identifying the poor and needy people from the remote areas of the country as per the need of the first group and bringing them to Dhaka to become donors for kidney transplantation in exchange for money by taking advantage of their poverty.

Later, another team completes all the necessary works including blood matching and other tests of the victimised kidney donors at various diagnostic centres in Dhaka. When blood matching and other diagnostic tests confirm the donor’s eligibility for the transplantation, they start processing his passport, visa and forging other necessary documents to send the donors to neighbouring countries.

Another criminal ring in the neighbouring country, in coordination with the gang in Bangladesh, accomplishes all the other relevant works including receiving the kidney donors from airports or land ports, preparing hospital documents, the surgery and sending them back legally or illegally through plane or through the northeastern border area.

Abdullah Al Momen said that the arrestees initially admitted that they had syphoned off a large amount of money illegally through the activities of this criminal ring. They usually charge Tk 2 to 2.5 million for each kidney transplantation. They used to pay the donor Tk 200,000 in advance with a promise to pay Tk 200,000-250,000 more after the surgery.

However, the victims were being intimidated by the members of the gang instead of the promised payment after the surgery.

The RAB official said ring leader Md Shahidul went to a neighbouring country for his own treatment in 2016.

There he saw a huge demand of kidneys for plantation purposes and started running an illegal kidney transplantation business himself. He then formed a gang in collaboration with the illegal kidney trading gang in the neighbouring country.

He used to complete all the processes including contacting the interested wealthy kidney patients and arranging kidney donors from different areas through his agents. He has initially admitted that he has traded more than 50 kidneys.

According to RAB, arrestee Md Mizanur Rahman, 44, used to prepare passports, bank endorsements, medical documents, visas and other documents required for kidney donors to go to neighbouring countries. He has been doing this for more than 10 years.