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Illegal blood donation gang nabbed
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-05 06:20

SHANGHAI: Two Shanghai men and one woman have admitted being part of an illegal blood donation gang that persuaded people to donate blood in exchange for money.

The three were part of a scam in which those they found to donate the blood pretended to be workers from the city's State-owned enterprises.

These firms were willing to go along with the scheme because it meant they could then claim they had fulfilled their quota of donations they need to supply each year.

Between 2002 and 2004, Li Yaoming, Zhao Xiong and Zhao Simei organized donations from people desperate for money.

The three made money by keeping part of the donation fee for themselves, according to Xue Mingjian, a prosecutor from Shanghai Putuo District People's Procuratorate.

During the first court hearing yesterday the three defendants admitted all the charges against them.

"I was paid 50 (US$6) or 100 yuan (US$12.1) for each donor I found, and have earned several thousands from it," said Li Yaoming.

Zhao Xiong worked to contact potential enterprises that needed blood donations, the prosecutor said.

Zhao Simei admitted organizing 31 illegal donations from people that were supposed to work at Shanghai Grinding Wheel Works, where she had retired from.

The three defendants face up to 18 months in prison, according to Xue.

The enterprises involved in the case, apart from Shanghai Grinding Wheel Works, include Shanghai Diesel Engine Company, the Putuo branch of the Agricultural Bank of China.

"But we cannot sue the people in those enterprises who approved these illegal donations as they did not gain any profit from it," said Xue.

"The planned voluntary donation system that requires government owned work units to provide blood donations was a main source for our blood supply," said Song Qi, from Shanghai Blood Centre.

The nation's Ministry of Health announced this February that China will phase out planned voluntary donations from State-owned enterprises in three years to eliminate illegal blood sales that have partly been responsible for rising HIV infections.

(China Daily 04/05/2005 page3)

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