A meme claiming that three people with bloodied bandages on their abdomens sold their kidneys to purchase the latest Apple iPhone 14 has been condemned by a Thai doctor.
The executive director of the Thai Red Cross Organ Donation Center, Dr Sophon Mekthon, issued a warning about the illegality of organ trading in Thailand and denounced the meme that had been going around since it appeared on Thai social media over the weekend.
“There is no organ trading. That is prohibited,” Mekthon said. “It is inappropriate to suggest selling organs, especially to get money to buy an iPhone. It is morally wrong and unethical.”
According to reports, the image came from a Vietnamese beauty parlour with a Laos base. It has subsequently been removed.
The image showed three persons with their abdomens exposed and bandaged, suggesting that each of them had sold one of their kidneys to pay for an iPhone 14.
The meme was allegedly taken as a joke in Laos, but when it appeared on social media on Saturday, users in Thailand took the image seriously. The joke and the message it conveys to young people have drawn criticism from several commenters.
A Chinese guy who sold his kidney in 2011 to purchase an iPhone 4 was later diagnosed with serious organ failure, according to a similar case that surfaced in 2019.