Serbian gang arrested in Spain on suspicion of kidnapping man after he refused to give them his kidney

A study by the World Health Organisation in 2013 reported that there were 10,000 black market operations globally

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The Independent Online

Five members of Serbian gang were arrested yesterday after Spanish police foiled an alleged plot by the men to buy the kidney of a Moroccan immigrant in exchange for €6000 (£4323).

According to police in the north-eastern Spanish town of Tarragona, the Moroccan man was said to be a “poor immigrant” in “economic need” and agreed to sell his kidney to help the gang leader’s son who suffered from kidney disease.

Police arrested the gang leader and his son, along with three other Serbian nationals thought to be associated with the deal.

Following the initial agreement, the Moroccan man is said to “have changed his mind” over fears that he would not receive the money from the men. This allegedly led to the gang members kidnapping the man and beating him until he agreed to go through with the transplant.

Police said that the gang also threatened to kill the man if he backed out of the deal.

In 2012, the World Health Organisation announced new figures suggesting that illegal organ trade was on the rise, with as many as 10,000 black market operations taking place annually.

In the study, the WHO said that people could pay up to $200,000 (£128,800) for an organ and reported on hundreds of “organ brokers” found mainly in India, China and Pakistan.

While there was significantly fewer cases reported in Europe,  the report did touch upon a growing number of eastern European gangs becoming involved in the harvesting and trade of illegal organs.

The five arrests are the latest in a string of arrests targeting organised Serbian gangs operating in Spain.

In an operation carried out by Spanish police, 48 people thought to be associated with the Serbian gangs were arrested following a string of burglaries that involved using children as young as 14.