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. Reflecto

    Yum. Prion disease and cannibalism combined into one easy-to-swallow capsule. Want some lead with that?

    May 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tradition

    No doubt this is a hard to believe thing, but it is a old remedy believing that it can treat/cure certain illness. And it should be only the placenta, most likely because of it's high content in hormone etc.

    May 7, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Foo ManChew

      Probably the reason it's poisonous, is because the babies died from paint thinner baby formula.

      May 8, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Silicon Valley

    It must work, almost everyone in silicon valley is asian.
    No matter, they will end owning America.
    We sold our homeland for iPods.
    They'll just chow down on the last of us.

    May 8, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. mickey1313

    Agreed the Chinese government is one lot the only things more corrupt in this world than the US government

    May 8, 2012 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. mickey1313

    China doesn't have what it takes to defeat America. They are on top because the American 1% let them. The day they are not robbing profits hand over fist, China will be no more. We don't import anything from China and export no food to them for1 year, and China returns to3rd world there they belong

    May 8, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Silicon Valley

      They are defeating us. iPod by iPad. Money flows out and away, then comes back to buy up Real Estate. Chinese investors are gobbling up home and land around here. Overseas Overlords renting back to Americans.
      There's time still on our clock, but it getting closer to game over.

      May 8, 2012 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
    • what

      What? Are you kidding? What about the thousands of years of history for China in which it was one of world's most technologically and culturally advanced society? Just because you're used to China being an economically weak country in your and your parents' life time, you can't just say China doesn't have what it takes to be at the top again.
      People like you in the past thought the world was going to be owned by Rome. -_-;;

      May 8, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. argh

    Funny, when my WW2 vet grandfather said asians eat babies, I thought he was just senile. Sorry, gramps, we shouldn't have put you in a home afterall.

    May 8, 2012 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • CyberPinoy

      I beg your pardon ASIA is not only chinese, its only the Chinese or probably Eastern Asians (Koreans, Mongolian.. etc) who do those things..

      May 8, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lee

    You are so wrong. We Korean don't eat cat. Only eats dog which is raised as food, NOT a pet dog.
    normal Koreans don't eat human-flesh capsule, and it's really disgusting

    May 8, 2012 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. denu

    you are wrong, its korean who eat anything, not chinese. some chinese eat dog and cats, most of them are ethnic korean chinese, but all koreans eat dogs and cats and insects, and for the human flash, its made by ethnic korean chinese in northeast china and export to south korea , korean do eat baby

    May 8, 2012 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. denu

    and for the human flash, its made by ethnic korean chinese in northeast china and export to south korea on koreans orders, korean do eat baby

    May 8, 2012 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. jerems


    May 8, 2012 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. tigresse

    Hahaha! Nice one BigotsAgainstCannibalism. No, I simply meant that – had you seen my original post on this article – you would have read that I mentioned that placenta – including some human placentas – have been used in the cosmetics industries for beauty creams for some time. If you're a pro-lifer, then I can understand that this is very offensive to you but on the other hand, if you're pro-choice and don't believe that a fetus is a human being until birth – then this might not be so offensive. Then again, using placenta from any animal as a beauty cream might be offensive to all. I'm not disagreeing that this practice doesn't have some ethical questions attached – definitely a loaded gun of issues – but I was only responding to the "fetus soup" thing. That is an urban legend. As for your pants....

    May 8, 2012 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. edwin

    It's obvious you have never been to Korea, were you living your whole life in the mountain?
    You should learn to get informed about what you talk about before attesting such accusations.
    If some people declare that you are a pedophile, without any proofs or evidence, how would you feel? yes, bad.
    Don't just state your opinions like a kid.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. May

    Chinese will eat anything, before they always hunt down African black rhinos for their horns, until they almost extinct. Again they believe it could cure impotency problem for males. Now they ate babies, Chinese, i told you eat everything walk on earth. Doesnt matter whether it was animals or humans. in deep province of China they ate virgin. Normally some tourists came to China. They kidnapped the girl, killed her, slaughter her and cook her flesh. It is disgusting. But that was happened in China. Your China make up probably contains human glesh as well

    May 8, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. CherBear

    I hope all you people that made dead baby jokes feel really bad now!!!!

    May 8, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kuritar

    Okay, I have been to both China and Korea and I've lived in China for 3 3/4 years. Chinese sometimes eat cat and dog, but not commonly. In Korea the dogs they eat are meant for eating, and not pets. Korean food isn't bugs, human flesh, and dirt. I love Korean food, it's meat, rice, vegetables, etc. Now the Chinese government is more corrupt than the US or British, and human flesh? See Koreans DON'T eat babies, I mean it was SMUGGLED IN. That's like saying if cocaine was smuggled in the US that EVERYBODY in the US does drugs! Koreans were deceived that it was pills not knowing it was baby flesh!

    May 9, 2012 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
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