Four people on Tuesday received jail terms totaling 22 years at a hearing in the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho for sending young men to China to sell their kidneys.
However, due to the absence of regulated punishments for organ trade, the ring, which sent 19 young men to China, instead was convicted of "illegally sending people overseas," Nguyen Thu Ha, deputy chief of Can Tho People's Court told Thanh Nien.
According to the indictment, in 2008, Vo Dinh Van, 25, and Le Son Truyen, 27, went to China to sell their kidneys for less than VND50 million (US$2,380) each.
They then met with Vuong and A Trang, whose identities were unknown, and were instructed to search for men who were between 18 and 22 years old from poor families in Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta provinces to sell kidneys in China, according to the hearing.
Each kidney was sold at VND40 million to 50 million (US$1,900 to 2,980), while Van and Truyen were paid VND10 million (US$476) for each person they found.
Later two others, 23-year-old Quang Dai Vang and 40-year-old La Thi Thinh, joined the duo, prosecutors said. They noted Vang also sold his kidney in 2009.
Van and Thinh each received six-year jail terms, while Truyen and Vang each were sentenced to five years in prison, according to the hearing.