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. Safi khan

    Enough is enough.Its the violation of human right, stop doing that all nonsense things.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris Ghost

    I also read somewhere else that they chop up the dead babies and then dry them on a stove before making it into powder form... that's real horrific and wrong.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. me

    I'm sorry, but Asians have the absolute most f'd up beliefs when it comes to this kind of stuff. And I know it isn't ALL Asians. But you just don't hear about this crazy stuff nearly as much in any other part of the world. I could go over there and announce that if you bath in my magic urine you'll live forever, and there would be a line around the block in half an hour. Is there education really that poor? Even among the least-educated people in the USA I haven't heard of such bizarre theories being so widely accepted. So, basically, that's the long version of Joe's fine assesment above... W....T.....F?????????????

    May 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spirit

      You should try to listen to what you don't normally hear. I'm pretty sure just recently there was news of two Americans having eaten an individual in the United States.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      education is china is poor, but s. korea has the worlds best education system. students at all levels – primary schools through graduate/ masters programs have ranked number one in the world for the past 5 years, followed by canada, 4-5 european countries, and the usa is 7-8 on the list. "me" you better do your home work, we're not winning anymore

      May 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Were these two people eating capsules? No.
      I heard about this, too.
      Appples to oranges.
      There are some very sick individuals out there...but this is slightly larger than that.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. chrissy

    EXACTLY @ joe and Simonds007! Its disgusting and raunchy and i would much rather not have heard this story at all! Theres just some things you dont need to know and this is one of them!

    May 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fargle

    are hilarious.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fargle

    haha cnn moderators are working OVERTIME on this one.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harry

      This is a bigggg one, lmao well done anon

      May 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Melodykari78

    OMG! Everything, and I mean everything, really is MADE IN CHINA.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Spirit

    I absolutely love how people home in on the word "Chinese" and then count the entire population as "cannibals."

    May 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Yeah, some people will think that way about Asians...I don't.
      However, I do think that way about the ones who use this product; there has to be many who believe this, as there is enough of a market to have SK import them from China...

      May 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Shifter

    Baby, the other other white meat.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. 2012marandalaw

    This is Awful...Just Awful..

    May 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 1221

    Cannibalism in a pill. Never knew Wendigo was Chinese.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    CNN is able to post nasty crap like this, calling it news, and yet take umbrage with my innocent jokes. Go figure.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Umbrage©

      I see what you mean...they delete your kokes and yet let stupid posts from and emotially stunted (a convenient excuse) 53 year old stay...keep posting your jokes. They have much more value than anything old stuntboy had to say.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NoooWaay

    @Dwe Seriously, you're trying to defend eating babies?

    May 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spirit

      Not trying to defend eating babies. Trying to defend Chinese. It's absolute ignorance to be generalizing the Chinese, or even Asian, populations for this one incident.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    The next thing you know, they'll be calling it " Soylent Green "

    May 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Barry G.

    China, have you no decency?

    May 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
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