TAIYUAN: Police in north China said Friday they have arrested 42 people after breaking up an alleged child-trafficking ring that sold at least 52 babies nationwide in the past two years.
The ring bought 19 boys and 33 girls in Shanxi and the neighboring Hebei Province and resold them to make a total of 400,000 yuan ($58,600), a spokesman with the Shanxi provincial public security bureau said.
Police in Shanxi's Yingxian County stopped three men, Zhao Dongsheng and his two sons from Zhaoxian County, Hebei Province, on May 8. They had a baby boy in their van, and looked nervous when police asked who the infant was.
Zhao allegedly confessed they had bought the boy from Zhao Fenglin and her daughter, Yan Yonghua, both of Yingxian County, on May 5 for 29,500 yuan. They were hoping the two women would take the infant back because the potential buyer in Hebei Province complained he was not healthy enough.
It was the 13th baby they had bought from the women, said the bureau spokesman.
Police arrested the two women on May 10.
The suspects allegedly confessed to police they were part of a ring that trafficked babies between Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong provinces as well as Beijing.
At least 10 of them acted as intermediaries that provided "demand" and "supply" information and got 500 to 2,000 yuan in return for each transaction, said the spokesman.
Other members of the ring cajoled rural families in at least four counties in Shanxi and Hebei into giving up their babies, and sold them to childless families, making an average profit of 10,000 yuan for a boy and 6,000 yuan for a girl.
As of Friday, police had returned 14 of the children to their parents, said the spokesman.
Police had also frozen more than 800,000 yuan in the suspects' bank accounts and confiscated two vans.