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. **cosmicVox *

    @ lila, How did you miss the part where I said cannibalism is against nature because it KILLS you. I never said its never happened throughout history. There is a theory in fact that Neandertals were helped to extinction through this practice. Got anything else to say, or would you like to do some reading up first?

    May 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • lila

      Again, it's not against nature, do you understand what the word means? The Neanderthals died off because humans could eat a larger variety in their diet and were more effective hunters. Did you just make that up about the Neanderthals being cannibals? The only one who needs to read up is you, so far you don't even understand the word nature. Humans are part of the natural world and will eat anything to live including their own, history shows that.

      May 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      Lila, mammals that canabalize get sick. Mad cow is caused 100% by farmers who feed cow brains to cows. Humans that used to be cannibals lived much shorter lives. Humans that eat humans get sick. Only lower life can canabalize with impunity.

      May 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • lila

      I don't support cannibalism in anyway. Cosmic was making up none sense saying that it goes against nature which is 100% not true. History proves that. It's like saying murder goes against nature. We have laws against murder so humans will live peacefully together, doesn't mean it does against nature. Murder has also been around since the beginning of time. Now he's claiming the Neanderthals went extinct because of cannibalism, again not true.

      May 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. **cosmicVox *

    Same goes for you Chinese Buffet.

    May 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Read it correctly

    Solent green wasn't so far off was it?

    May 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. A mom

    I am disgusted beyond belief.

    May 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. **cosmicVox *

    Cannabalism causes a fatal incurable disease. It's what causes Mad Cow disease. These are appalling practices and should be abhorred by everyone.

    May 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • LC

      More specifically, transmissible spongiform encelalopathies, a group of brain-destructive diseases caused by prions. No cure, no treatment and prions are incredibly difficult to kill. They've been known to survive all know steam sterilization cycles.

      May 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • svann

      Oh please. It doesnt "cause" mad cow disease. It can pass it on, but it doesnt create it. You eat someone/something that is sick you get sick, regardless of whether its people or cows.

      May 7, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bennycat

    Well, yuck.

    May 7, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kim

    I almost throwup reading this crazy crap people are really demented. Are we moving backwards.

    May 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • toadears

      Yes. Those seeking only evolution, such as Hitler, devolve the fastest. Always. Without spiritual or moral guidance, it becomes completely unimportant who lives and who dies or why.

      May 7, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. **cosmicVox *

    No, I didn't make that up, my God , try doing some research!

    May 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • lila

      The Neanderthals did not go instinct because they were cannibals!!

      May 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • lila


      May 7, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chinese Buffet

      Sheesh, again with the "you need to be educated" argument, what a lame-a-zoid

      May 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ronnie Harper

    The person taking that pill is a scared, despairing person committing canabalism in an effort to ward off the realities of what is probably a very hard, gruelling life.

    May 7, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. yonyo

    you really have to have a justification, like they carry superbacteria, for not eating people? I would hope the fact that it's made from people would be enough.

    May 7, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      No, most people are sheep, pigs or cows anyway, so the brain killing bugs are the only reason not to kill and eat your fellow man

      May 7, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. svann

    Two cannibals were sitting by a fire. The first says, "Gee, I hate my mother-in-law." The 2nd replies, "So, try the potatoes.

    May 7, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. joe800

    ..this disgustingness could only emanate from China....

    May 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. **cosmicVox *

    @ lila, Nature is Survival of the Fittest and you're not going to be very fit if you die from what you're eating. You're also not going to be able to procreate because you'll be DEAD. This works against nature and whyMost mammals will not eat their own kind.

    May 7, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • svann

      Most mammals WILL eat their own kind.

      May 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • lila

      Again, I don't support cannibalism, but it has been around since the beginning of time. You are the one who keeps going on about it because you don't like the fact it doesn't go against nature. There is evidence we were eating each other a lot longer than eating pigs. Sorry if that upsets you, it's a fact.

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

    @ lila, Go argue that with the scientist that came up with the theory, I'm sure you know more about it than he does!

    May 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. shaun

    Orientals are the biggest threat to the health of this planet...they have no morals.

    May 7, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
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