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. lila

    How many people will defend it saying it's part of their culture and we are just being Western snobs because we think it's disgusting?

    May 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sara

    All that pollution is finally taking its toll. They have gone mad over there.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mister Jones

    Soylent Green is people!!!!

    May 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CrucialLink

    Sounds like China has a Planned Parenthood organization too

    May 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Instead of "CrucialLink" it would probably be easier to just use the name "I'm a moron" instead. That way, you wouldn't have to say anything at all.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • ec

      Only 3% of Planned Parenthood's services are abortions. Get educated and stop getting your news from one, idiotic source.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jimmy

    This is,what happens when ur country has a one child law and they all want a boy. This is disgusting

    May 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chinese Buffet

    Why is this an issue? Even American's don't value "fetuses" anymore; it's just worthless tissue. Once aborted, you might as well use the worthless tissue for something, i mean, it's not like we bury the thing in a cemetery. In America, we just toss them in the trash and dump them in the landfill. WHATS THE BIG DEAL?

    May 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Squeezebox

      The big deal is that this child was legally murdered and to add further insult, was eaten by cannibals who think they're smarter than God, that's the big deal! These people have no respect for any lives but their own! Whatever happened to human dignity?

      May 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mona

    I don't understand how they think it can give them more stamina? Just because it is the flesh of a baby? So they think if they eat babies they will have more energy? Doesn't make sense to me.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HenkV

    Good, they are now getting away from selling miracle drugs like ground up rhinoceros horns?

    May 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • drinker75

      I guess at least we aren't endangered....

      May 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. **cosmicVox *

    @ jk , better ethics ? If you go over the one child limit there they Will kill your newborn with a lethal injection. Does anyone here know the health ramifications of eating human flesh? Cannibalism is against nature for a reason.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • lila

      Cannibalism isn't against nature, it's been around since the beginning of time but we all hoped humans have evolved past it.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hollywood

    A pill made from dead babies? I think I just came in my pants.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • CNNuthin

      Quick, put it in a pill and sell it to South Korea for half the price.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Maya

    The stupidity of people who would use something like this to say that abortion is wrong is just astounding.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • hollywood

      the stupidity of those who look at abortion as a modern sacrament to being a woman is just astounding.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sarah

    And the headline for the future- Outbreak of Kuru Disease in South Korea.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. wcb2001

    This is Stephen King style shockingly disgusting! These people desperately need to be educated.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. **cosmicVox *

    @Chinese Buffet, how many funerals have you ever seen/heard of for when a woman has a miscarriage? They usually go right down the toilet. This is about the deliberate consumption of humans which is cannibalism!!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chinese Buffet

      You miss the point. Cannibalism is eating humans, according to our culture, fetuses aren't humans, so this is NOT a case of cannibalism, but rather a resourceful use of otherwise-wasted cells and tissue. When people chew their fingernails, are they cannibalizing themselves? How can you say this is wrong yet abortion is O.K.? If you believe this is cannibalism, then you must believe in your heart that a fetus actually does have some spiritual and human value, otherwise you are being intellectually dishonest.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bellatrix


    Makes me think "Soylent Green".

    Geez....only the Chinese.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
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