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.

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Thai, Philippine indexes weak after trade data

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose in line with the rest of Asia on Tuesday but the Thai index pared early gains after weak trade data in April, while the Philippine benchmark ... …

  • Is your home on top of a faultline?
    Is your home on top of a faultline?

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanoly and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recently issued an updated and high-resolution "atlas" of the East Valley Fault and West Valley Fault, two major faultlines that run through sections of Metro Manila. Metro Manila may be due for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within this lifetime, say experts from the institute, among them PHIVOLCS director Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr. According to records, the last major earthquake caused by the West Valley Fault took place 357 years …

  • Filipina maid photographs "modern slavery" in Hong Kong

    By Emma Batha LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Filipina maid in Hong Kong has published stark photographs of burned and beaten domestic workers to highlight the "modern slavery" she says has long been the city's shameful secret. "Hong Kong is a very modern, successful city but people treat their helpers like slaves," said Xyza Cruz Bacani, whose black and white portraits won her a scholarship from the Magnum Foundation to start studying at New York University this month. It's common …

  • Want to buy a brand new car?
    Want to buy a brand new car?

    Tired of fixing your old car? Maybe this is the best time for you to invest in a brand new one. BPI Family Savings Bank, the country’s leading consumer bank, is extending its newest campaign “Bagong Kotse, 1-Month Libre” promo until June 30, 2015 which allows potential car buyers to avail of a car loan term […] The post Want to buy a brand new car? appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’
    ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’

    The daughter of one of the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. owners has assured the government that the businessmen are still in the Philippines, contrary to some reports that they have fled the country. Barbara Ang, daughter of Kentex shareholder Veato Ang, said her father and his business partners have no plans of leaving the country despite the razing of the Valenzuela slipper factory, which killed 72 workers on May 13. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian also stood by his promise to punish any local …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options