A Chinese citizen charged with conspiracy for allegedly plotting to sell the body parts of executed Chinese prisoners was ordered held without bail Wednesday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis agreed with prosecutors that 41-year-old Cheng Yong Wang is a flight risk because he has no job or family in the United States.
Wang’s lawyer, Oliver Smith, said his client had been set up “by an individual who has his own agenda.”
He was referring to human rights activist Harry Wu, who posed as a doctor at a dialysis center to secretly videotape Wang on Feb. 13. Wang said he was a prosecutor in China and tried to arrange the sale of body parts, said Wu, who contacted the FBI. Wang and another man were arrested a week later.
Wu has been working for several years to publicize a practice in China in which body parts from executed prisoners are sometimes used for organ transplants. Wu said he was contacted by a dialysis center after Wang offered to sell the center body parts.
Wang and Xingqi Fu, 35, both of Queens, were arrested Friday. Prosecutors said they conspired to arrange for Americans to travel to China for transplants, and also plotted to ship body parts such as corneas to the United States.
Wu said in an interview Tuesday that Wang had showed him papers proving he had been a prosecutor in China and had boasted he could guarantee the body parts of at least 50 executed prisoners a year because he participated in the killings.
Fu, who prosecutors said had family and friends in the United States, was freed on $100,000 bail Monday.
The conspiracy charge against both men carries a maximum penalty of five years.
Outside court Wednesday, Smith said the Chinese government had not returned calls to confirm whether Wang had been a prosecutor in China.
Beijing has consistently denied accusations that it allows prisoners’ organs to be sold.
“Should it occur, the Chinese law will punish the culprits,” ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said Tuesday.