Skip to main content

Chinese couple sells babies for iPhones and shoes, authorities say

By Kevin Wang, CNN
updated 11:08 AM EDT, Sun October 20, 2013
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
updated 1:13 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
updated 5:08 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
updated 12:52 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
updated 3:42 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
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.
updated 12:10 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
updated 3:12 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
updated 10:30 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
updated 5:11 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
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
updated 11:44 PM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
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.
updated 2:31 AM EDT, Fri July 4, 2014
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
updated 7:57 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
updated 2:56 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
updated 4:36 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
updated 11:34 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
ADVERTISEMENT