An unemployed Shanghai couple is accused of selling their newborn in exchange for up to 50,000 yuan (US$8,000) and then using the proceeds to going on a shopping spree -- including the purchase of an iPhone.
The couple, identified in Chinese media only as “Mr. Teng and Ms. Zhang,” will stand trial in Shanghai for allegedly auctioning off their baby and using the proceeds to finance a shopping spree. Shanghai's Jiefang Daily newspaper said that the couple posted advertisements for the unborn child in June suggesting they'd be willing to give up their unborn baby in exchange for money.
Chinese prosecutors said the couple hid the woman’s pregnancy to avoid arousing suspicion among friends and strangers. To explain her growing bump, the woman told neighbors that she had a tumor, according to the U.K. Telegraph. After a home birth, the couple reportedly handed their daughter over to an anonymous buyer, who then made a direct deposit into their bank account later the same day.
According to media accounts, the couple said in court testimony that they were acting in the child's best interest. The couple said that they didn't have steady incomes and would have had difficulty caring for the child. They hoped by auctioning her off, the child would be placed in a good, stable home and receive a good education. “We did not give the baby away for money but in order to give it more security,” the couple said, according to the Telegraph.
Prosecutors said that authorities have examined the couple’s bank records and believe the transactions indicate that the couple masterminded a “sinister conspiracy” to profit from the child's birth. One credit card bill showed that immediately after the baby was "traded" in, the couple spent large amounts of cash during an online shopping spree, which included the purchase of an iPhone and a pair of "high-end" sneakers.
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This isn't the first time someone in China has gone to extremes for an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) product. Last year, a 17-year-old boy in central China’s Hunan province sold his kidney to earn enough money to buy an iPhone and an iPad, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency. The teenager told his mother about his desperate act after he began feeling pain due to renal failure following extraction of the organ, the report said.