BEIJING - Three doctors in China have been arrested for allegedly carrying out illegal organ transplants at a private clinic, local authorities and state media said Sunday.
Acting on a tip-off, police in Bazhou city in the northern province of Hebei arrested the doctors last month as they prepared to remove a kidney from a man, a local Communist Party official and police told AFP.
The case is under investigation, they said, declining to provide further details.
China banned organ transplants from living donors other than spouses, relatives and adopted family members in 2007, the official Xinhua news agency said.
But demand for transplants far exceeds supply in the country of more than 1.3 billion (S$1.6 billion), opening the door to the illegal sale of organs.
The country launched a trial programme last year to allow people to voluntarily donate their organs after death in order to meet increasing demand, Xinhua said.
An estimated 1.5 million people are waiting for transplants but only about 10,000 people have registered so far as donors, it said.
According to previous state media reports, hospitals have carried out illegal transplant operations for about 100,000 yuan (about S$15,700).