“It’s one of the strangest cases of my career,” Afzal Butt of the Hafizabad police department told the Guardian UK. Shabaz Sharif, the chief minister of the Punjab province, where Hafizabad is located, has ordered that the girl receive free follow-up medical treatment.
Members of a twisted Pakistani gang are accused of swiping the spinal fluid of at least a dozen of women to hawk on the black market, police said Tuesday.
The four men lured 12 women into their scheme by posing as Hafizabad government employees — telling them they needed to provide blood samples in order to receive financial aid for their dowries, the BBC reported.
“It appears the gang has been active in the Hafizabad area for some time,” said officer Ashfaq Ahmed Khan.
Authorities became aware of the plot when a man, who the gang had convinced to give his consent to the procedure, noticed that his teen daughter felt ill.
Instead of taking her to the hospital for a blood test, the crooks had brought the 17-year-old to the house of a female gang member to steal her spinal fluid.
Cops raided a location in the east of Hafizabad and found a bottle and a syringe.
Spinal fluid is a transparent liquid that protects the brain and spinal cord from injury, and doctors use it in labs to help diagnose diseases, such as cancer and meningitis. It is extracted by poking a needle through the vertebrae.
Police speculated the liquid may have been offered for sale to homeopaths and traditional healers called desi hakeems.
“It’s one of the strangest cases of my career,” Afzal Butt of the Hafizabad police department told the Guardian UK.
The four gangsters were arrested Monday and allegedly told cops about their other victims.
“We were promised 40,000 rupees ($620) if we provided 15 samples, however, we could only get 12,” one of the accused told Geo.TV.
The accused could also face sexual abuse charges because their 17-year-old victim was stripped naked for the procedure, police said.
Shabaz Sharif, the chief minister of the Punjab province, where Hafizabad is located, has ordered that the girl receive free follow-up medical treatment.
Pakistan outlawed the commercial trade of human body parts in 2010, introducing a jail sentence of up to 10 years, but experts say the country is still a hotspot for organ trafficking.