Officials condemn viral photo of patients trading kidneys for iPhone 14s

A photograph of three 'patients' with stomach bandages proudly displaying newly-acquired iPhone 14s has caused a furore in South East Asia.

A beauty clinic in Laos, Dr. Nith Beauty Center, Vientiane, published the image of the trio holding up new smart phones with apparent surgical scars.

The photo began to go viral around Thailand, too, with many people believing it to be real.

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It turned out that it was a marketing ploy for the clinic, but the Red Cross still saw fit to condemn its “misleading” message, that may inspire people to take drastic measures to get the coveted piece of tech.

“There is no organ trading like this. It’s prohibited,” Sophon Mekthon of the Thai Red Cross Organ Donation Center.

“It’s inappropriate that organ trading is promoted, especially to exchange one for money to buy an iPhone. It’s immoral and unethical.”

And Thai social media users were quick to slam the marketing, too. “I want you to know that this kind of joke is not funny at all,” Satsada Thanaborirak wrote.

“And do you know what values are being created/directed to society?”

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Thai website Coconuts reported that “selling one’s kidney” has been adopted in internet parlance in recent years in the country.

It speaks to the fact that some Thai people will go to extreme lenghts to afford tickets to big events, or to get their hands on the latest gadgets.

The latest iPhone, now available to pre-order in Thailand, costs well over the equivalent of £1,500 – whilst the average monthly wage is shy of £350.

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