Three Bali immigration officers have been arrested for their alleged role in an illegal organ ring. The trafficking syndicate ferried victims from Indonesia to Cambodia to sell their kidneys, Indonesian police said Saturday, July 29.
The move comes as authorities crack down on the suspected illegal organ ring, arresting 12 members last week. Among the arrested was a police officer and an immigration officer accused of smuggling 122 victims.
The three Bali immigration officers are accused of working with the already arrested officer. All four are accused of taking bribes to allow victims to pass through immigration checks to Cambodia for kidney surgeries.
“The suspects will be brought to Jakarta under police custody,” Jakarta police director for general crimes Hengki Haryadi told AFP.
At least 18 of the kidney donor victims left Bali for Cambodia between March and June, he said. Authorities believe there are more victims and are looking for them to come forward.
Some of the members of the cell are former donors who became recruiters using Facebook and WhatsApp to lure and trade victims.
The organ trafficking ring has been operating since 2019 earning $1,588,614 in total, Haryadi told reporters last week.
The traffickers received 200 million rupiah ($13,200) for each kidney, pocketing 65 million rupiah ($4,300) and giving the rest to the victims.
The organs were harvested at Preah Ket Mealea Hospital in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, police said. Many of the 122 victims lost their jobs in the pandemic and were exploited because of precarious financial situations, Haryadi added.
Organ trading is outlawed in Indonesia and the syndicate members arrested last week face 15 years in prison and 600 million rupiah in fines if found guilty of violating the country’s human trafficking law.
Source: The Star