Smuggling of human flesh pills continues despite intensified crackdown: data

Despite efforts from South Korea's government, human flesh pills continue to be smuggled in from China. Pictured are food capsules in Forbach, eastern France.

SEOUL, South Korea (Yonhap) -- The smuggling of pills containing human flesh has continued over the past several years, despite the government's increased efforts to stem the flow of the capsules across the border, customs data showed Monday.

The so-called human flesh capsules were first confiscated in August 2011 while being smuggled from China. The Korea Customs Service (KCS) has since intensified its crackdown on such attempts.

The capsules, which contain the remains of dead human fetuses, are being smuggled as stamina enhancement drugs, but the customs agency and other drug safety authorities say that they are contaminated with many bacteria and could cause serious health problems.

According to data submitted by the KCS to Rep. Yun Ho-Jung of the Democratic Party, the KCS had uncovered a total of 94 attempts to illegally bring in human flesh capsules from August of 2011 to August of 2012. About 43,600 pills were involved in those smuggling attempts.

During the first eight months of this year, the KCS has also caught the capsules in 25 smuggling attempts, the data showed.

Most pills confiscated had been smuggled out of China using travelers' luggage, mobile phones or the postal service. The data, in particular, showed that a smuggling attempt uncovered in June involved mail from the United States.

Rep. Yun urged the KCS to further intensify its crackdown on attempts to smuggle in human flesh capsules in close cooperation with other related agencies such as the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

Meanwhile, smuggling of faked impotence treatment drugs such as Viagra spiked to a record high this year, separate customs data showed.

The data submitted to Rep. Lee Nak-yon of the Democratic Party showed that the KCS has confiscated 336.6 billion won (US$317.2 million) worth of such drugs during the January-September period.

The actual amount of counterfeit anti-impotence drugs being circulated in the market here is expected to be much larger. Rep. Lee called for stricter monitoring on drugs that could have serious consequences on the public's health.