Authorities in Vietnam are investigating two women for allegedly running an illegal surrogacy ring that took Vietnamese women to China.

Ninh Thi Hai Yen, 31, and 35-year-old Pham Thi Hue are being probed for “organizing surrogacy for commercial purposes,” VN Express reported.

When questioned by the authorities, Hue said she was working in China in 2017 when she met a man called Yang, who identified himself as the director of a hospital. She agreed with Yang to bring women from Vietnam to serve as surrogate mothers for fees of 50-60 million Dong (US$2,100-2,500.)

Hue then returned to Vietnam and found 11 women—including Yen—on social media who agreed to follow her to China. Yen, who turned out to be unable to have children, found five other women for Hue.

The 15 women were taken to a hospital in Guangzhou, China between March and October 2018. In November, Hue and some of the pregnant women were sent back to Vietnam by Yang.

A three-story house in Ha Long, Quang Ninh was rented by Hue for the pregnant women to stay. In March 2019, police raided the property and found the women.

Hue admitted that she had been paid 260 million Dong (US$11,216) for sourcing the 15 women. Yen was paid 30 million Dong(US$1,292).

In addition, each of the surrogate mothers would have been given 300 to 400 million Dong after delivering their babies.

It was later discovered that Yen had also been involved with another surrogacy ring. She found five other women for them and was paid 150 million Dong (US$6,462).

Since 2015, surrogacy to help infertile couples has been legal in Vietnam. However, commercial surrogacy remains illegal, and is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.