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
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0229 GMT (1029 HKT)
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
 A man uses his smartphone on July 16, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Only 53.5% of Japanese owned smartphones in March, according to a white paper released by the Ministry of Communications on July 15, 2014. The survey of a thousand participants each from Japan, the U.S., Britain, France, South Korea and Singapore, demonstrated that Japan had the fewest rate of the six; Singapore had the highest at 93.1%, followed by South Korea at 88.7%, UK at 80%, and France at 71.6%, and U.S. at 69.6% in the U.S. On the other hand, Japan had the highest percentage of regular mobile phone owners with 28.7%. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
The massive street rallies that have swept Hong Kong present a major dilemma for China's leadership.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 0707 GMT (1507 HKT)
Chinese wine drinkers need to develop a taste for the cheap stuff, not just premium red wines like Lafite.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0109 GMT (0909 HKT)
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, set off a media kerfuffle this month when he spoke about his next reincarnation.
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 1418 GMT (2218 HKT)
He's one of the fieriest political activists in Hong Kong — he's been called an "extremist" by China's state-run media — and he's not old enough to drive.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0257 GMT (1057 HKT)
China has no wine-making tradition but the country now uncorks more bottles of red than any other.
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.
ADVERTISEMENT