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South Korea Boosts Fight Against Infant Flesh-Pill Smuggling

South Korea said it will strengthen inspections aimed at preventing the smuggling from northeast China of capsules containing powdered flesh of dead infants.

The pills also have potentially lethal substances including so-called superbacteria and have been sold in South Korea as supplements that increase stamina or cure diseases, according to a statement the Korea Customs Service posted on its website. The notice didn’t say how the capsules’ contents were determined or whether the infants’ origins were known.

The agency began a crackdown on the pills, allegedly made of human fetuses and the remains of dead infants, last year after a documentary aired on Seoul Broadcasting System. (034120) The program, broadcast last year, accused Chinese drugmakers of collaborating with abortion clinics to make the pills, according to the SBS website.

South Korean customs has uncovered 35 cases and more than 17,000 capsules since August, according to the Korea Customs Service statement. The contraband is being smuggled by ethnic Koreans from northeastern China in luggage or through international mail, the agency said in the statement.

Superbacteria are harmful microbes that resist antibiotics.

To contact the reporter on this story: Taejin Park in Seoul

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dave McCombs at

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