Skip to main content

Chinese couple sells babies for iPhones and shoes, authorities say

By Kevin Wang, CNN
October 20, 2013 -- Updated 1508 GMT (2308 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Couple face charges of trafficking of women and children, news agency says
  • Police say the couple sold three newborns
  • The couple say they earned $13,000 and spent it on iPhones and shoes, police say
  • Authorities recover the baby sold this year and are looking for the others

(CNN) -- A Shanghai couple are facing charges after allegedly selling three of their newborns to pay for iPhones, computers and high-end shoes, Chinese authorities said.

The husband and wife, both in their early 30s and identified only as Teng and Zhang, face multiple charges of trafficking of women and children, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Friday. The husband is in custody, and his wife posted bail, China's Ministry of Public Security said.

Shanghai police began investigating the couple in May after receiving tips that they used QQ, a popular Chinese instant messaging system, to place an ad for their newborn girl, the ministry said. Police found the couple by tracing the IP address from their ad.

Police arrested them in June.

After their arrest, the couple admitted selling three of their newborn babies in recent years for a total of $13,000, the ministry said. They sold the first baby in 2008, the second in 2011 and the third -- the girl -- this year, the ministry said.

Authorities recovered the girl and are now looking for the other two children, the ministry said.

Neighbors told police the couple live with two of their children, ages 6 and 9. The neighbors also said the wife appeared pregnant in each instance, but the newborns were gone shortly after being delivered, the Ministry of Public Security said.

Through tracing the wife's credit card and bank transactions, police determined the couple spent all of their sale proceeds on iPhones and luxury shoes, Xinhua reported. The Ministry of Public Security said the couple also bought computers and that police recovered the items from the couple's home.

The couple told police they sold their newborns in the hopes the babies would get a better life, Xinhua reported, and that buyers voluntarily gave them the money. The couple reportedly said they never asked for payment.

The selling of babies in China has been a problem in the past.

In 2011, the Ministry of Public Security announced that a cross-provincial investigation busted two baby-trafficking rings and rescued 29 newborns in the eastern province of Shandong. The babies were purportedly sold by their biological parents in southwestern China's Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces, the ministry said.

In August: Twin babies 'sold' by Chinese trafficking ring reunited with parents

Chinese newborn, allegedly sold by doctor, is returned to parents

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 0929 GMT (1729 HKT)
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0545 GMT (1345 HKT)
Reforms to the grueling gaokao - the competitive college entrance examination - don't make the grade, says educator Jiang Xueqin.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
Beijing grapples with reports from Iraq that a Chinese national fighting for ISIS has been captured.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 0200 GMT (1000 HKT)
CNN's David McKenzie has tasted everything from worms to grasshoppers while on the road; China's cockroaches are his latest culinary adventure.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 0057 GMT (0857 HKT)
Beijing rules only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
China warns the United States to end its military surveillance flights near Chinese territory.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
China has produced elite national athletes but some argue the emphasis on winning discourages children. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
ADVERTISEMENT