S. Korea cracks down on flesh capsules from China

South Korea has intensified a crackdown on the smuggling of capsules from China containing the powdered flesh of dead babies, taken by some as a cure for disease or a way to boost sexual performance, a customs official said Tuesday.

The gruesome practice came to light Sunday when Korea Customs said it had uncovered 35 attempts to import a total of 17,451 such capsules since last August.

The pills -- filled with the dried and powdered flesh of foetuses or dead infants -- were intercepted in the mail or in customs searches at airports.

The customs service said that apart from ethical questions the capsules were contaminated with "super bacteria" and other disease-causing organisms.

Most pills were sent from the northeastern Chinese cities of Yanji and Jilin as well as cities including Qingdao and Tianjin at the request of customers in South Korea, it said.

Some were hidden in packages of legitimate drugs to disguise their contents.

Officials now closely monitor flights from "certain Chinese regions" and inspect all the luggage of all passengers far more often than before, Kim Soo-Yeon, a Korea Customs official in charge of customs clearance told AFP.

Bringing in such pills breaches a regulation banning items that "violate social dignity and customs", he said.

No organised attempts to smuggle in the capsules have so far been detected, Kim said, and most offenders were individual travellers. Some claimed they were unaware of what they were carrying.

"It's not just human-flesh pills. We also target other similarly banned but popular items like seal penises and bear gall bladders," said Kim, referring to items favoured by middle-aged men as libido enhancers.

"We have drastically stepped up resources in these efforts...even risking great inconvenience to visitors from these regions," he said.

Chosun Ilbo newspaper said the human-flesh capsules sell for 40,000-50,000 won ($35-44) each at some oriental herbal medicine shops.

Experts say the practice stems from a superstitious belief that eating body parts of young infants will give one special physical strength or cure disease.

"It is a bizarre...practice, just like a belief that eating the penis of actively-mating seals or drinking the bile of strong bears will help your libido," Ha Ji-Hyun, a psychiatrist at Konkuk University medical centre, told Chosun.

Maeil Business Newspaper urged the Chinese government Tuesday to crack down on producers of the human-flesh capsules and impose heavy punishments, calling the practice "truly shocking."

"No government in the world could possibly understand the Chinese government for letting such an inhuman practice go unpunished," it said in an editorial.

It added that desperate cancer patients and construction workers from China undertaking gruelling work were the main customers in the South.

"I'm trembling with shock that people who eat such stuff are my compatriots," one anonymous South Korean Internet user commented. Another called the practice "absolutely hideous".

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesia informs drug convicts of execution
    Indonesia informs drug convicts of execution

    Indonesia said Saturday it had officially notified eight foreign drug convicts that they will be executed, prompting an appeal from United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon to spare the prisoners and suspend the death penalty. A Frenchman also on death row for drug-related crimes was granted a temporary reprieve after Paris stepped up pressure on Jakarta. The eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- have been transported to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan where …

  • UN chief urges Indonesia to spare drug convicts from execution
    UN chief urges Indonesia to spare drug convicts from execution

    United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon appealed to Indonesia on Saturday to spare from impending execution a group of 10 death-row drug convicts, most of them foreigners. "The Secretary General appeals to the government of Indonesia to refrain from carrying out the execution, as announced, of 10 prisoners on death row for alleged drug-related crimes," a spokesman for Ban said. Earlier Saturday, Indonesia said it had officially notified eight foreign nationals convicted of drug crimes -- from …

  • AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys
    AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

  • Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions
    Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions

    Short of condemning China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, a senior US military official said Washington does not support any act of coercion and bullying. “We don’t stand for coercion, bullying and aggressiveness,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, assistant US military director for  Phl-US Joint Balikatan Exercises 2015. At the sidelines of this year’s joint military exercises’ static aircraft display held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Mahoney told a media briefing that …

  • ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’
    ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’

    The proposed grant to the chief minister of the envisioned Bangsamoro region of operational control over police forces in the area is consistent with the Constitution, a senior administration lawmaker said yesterday. Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite made the statement to allay the fears of his colleagues that the proposal, contained in the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), would violate the Charter. It is clear in the proposed BBL that the Bangsamoro police will be part …

  • Noy off to KL for Asean meet
    Noy off to KL for Asean meet

    President Aquino will arrive here this afternoon with Manila hopeful of support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to achieve peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as well as economic prosperity and inclusive growth among the people in the region. Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Eduardo Malaya III said that with respect to the dramatic developments in the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had called for the early …

  • Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food
    Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

    After months of preparation and hard work from both the government and private sectors, the future of food is finally here in the country’s capital. Madrid Fusión Manila opened its doors on Friday to an international delegation who eagerly awaited the discussions of some of the most renowned and revered names in the culinary world. Madrid Fusión Manila is a historic gastronomic event marked by talks and exhibitions that showcases Spain and the Philippines’ shared cultural heritage, as well as …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options