May 7th, 2012
12:37 PM ET

Reports: South Korea clamps down on traffickers of 'human-flesh capsules'

South Korean customs officials said they are cracking down on an operation that is smuggling in pills from China made from the flesh of dead babies, according to Korean media reports.

Twenty-nine smugglers of "human-flesh capsules" have been arrested after trying to smuggle 11,000 pills into South Korea from China while disguised as tourists, according to The Korea Times.

“Some put herbs together in the capsules so that customs agents cannot distinguish the unique smell and color of the human-flesh capsules," a Korea Customs Service official told the newspaper. "Others put the capsules in medicine containers to deceive inspectors."

The pills, which are taken by people who believe they may help increase stamina, for rejuvenation or by terminal cancer patients, are made of powder made from dried fetuses or dead babies, the customs office told the Korea Times.

More than 35 cases and more than 17,000 pills have been found by customs authorities since August of last year, the South Korean website Dong-A Ilbo reported. 

South Korea's crackdown comes after a documentary called "Lee Yeong-don’s Food X File" aired in April 2011, describing the smuggling of the capsules as well as harmful effects of the pills. The documentary claimed that tests done in South Korea and by KCS showed that the content of the pills they received was "99.7 percent identical with humans," China Daily reported. 

The documentary team went to China, where they found and shot video of a hospital that sold materials, according to China Daily. Chinese officials said they have strict rules forbidding the sale of placentas or any medical waste.

The Ministry of Health began investigating the issue after the documentary.

"Since human flesh capsules are confirmed to contain ingredients lethal to humans, including super bacteria, we will preemptively curb their smuggling at borders to protect public health," a customs official told Dong-A Ilbo.

The website reported the capsules were being smuggled from northeastern China after requests from buyers in South Korea.

But now, Korean officials said, they will be putting in effect a significant number of measures to try to stem the smuggling of the pills.

Customs officials will be even more diligent in checking belongings of international travelers as well as global mail, Dong-A Ilbo reported. That includes opening packages and "checking all capsules and powder made from unknown substances" and labeled drugs that come from China.

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Filed under: China • Health • South Korea
soundoff (284 Responses)
  1. wetpaperbag3

    Soylent Green really IS people!

    May 7, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. toadears

    I think cannibalism only works for people who are frozen, like when they ate Timothy (remember the old pop song?) and those athletes who ate the people in the Andes when the plane crashed. They lived but the nightmares! I don't know how good their lives are now. But starvation is a slow, hard way to die also. It's a trade off I guess.

    May 7, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Amy

    These people are stupid. Gross.

    May 7, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. what_the

    Here a local Chinese carryout has the nickname Screaming Cat Carryout. We always thought it was the use of cat that made them scream and gave the nickname but now it looks like maybe the cats scream because of the babies either way I am still unsure what that light purple meat is in the egg rolls.

    May 7, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dennis

    Do you know what they call Alternative Medicine that works? Medicine.

    May 7, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arran Webb

      Thalidomide and MRSA some of my favorite medicines. But I do like fresh drinking water which has and can saved more than medicine.

      May 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Daniel

    This is vile. Even more disgusting is their reason. They think it will give them more stamina!

    May 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bate vanko

    These guys are seriously sick!

    May 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Barry FFS


    May 7, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. maxp0wer

    I don't understand how Asian people can be so smart in some regards, and then so 5tup1d in other regards.

    May 7, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jubei

    Disgusting and an embarrassment to all Asians worldwide.

    May 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. William

    Well...this is one of the more disgusting things I've read in a long time.

    May 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eric

    This is WAY beyond creepy.

    May 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chuck

    "Chinese officials said they have strict rules forbidding the sale of placentas or any medical waste."

    I'm sure they do. But, in China, that doesn't mean much.

    The people from whom these pills are made died. Something killed them. For a living person to eat them is probably not a good idea.

    May 7, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Fiona

    This just bolsters my belief that there are no morals in China, no ethics, no concept of or ppreciation of right and wrong.

    May 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. suthrnboy

    Medicine made from dead babies? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of medicine?

    May 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
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