Three doctors have been arrested for illegally harvesting human organs in North China's Hebei province, local authorities said.
An official from the municipal Public Security Bureau of Bazhou said that a private clinic was raided on September 22 after authorities received tips regarding illegal organ transplants that allegedly took place at the clinic.
Three doctors were caught red-handed while preparing for an operation to remove a kidney from a man surnamed Yang, the official said.
All the three doctors were licensed doctors from the city of Dezhou in neighboring Shandong province, the official said.
No other details have been released, as police are still on the hunt for others who may be involved.
China banned organ transplants from living donors except for spouses, blood relatives and adopted family members in 2007. However, there have been countless stories about illegal organ transplants in recent years, as there appears to be a large underground network profiting from the country's demand for donor organs.
Early this year, a debt-laden man in Central China's Hunan province had one of his kidneys removed after agreeing to sell it to an illegal organ dealer. The man changed his mind about the deal but was still forced to undergo surgery.
In June, a 17-year-old boy in East China's Anhui province sold one of his kidneys through an underground dealer, using the money to buy an iPad.
China launched a trial program last year to allow people to voluntarily donate their organs after death in order to meet increasing demand for donor organs.
Statistics show that there are about 1.5 million patients on China's organ transplant waiting list, while the number of registered donors is only about 10,000, or less than one percent of the demand.