South Korea is to strengthen its customs inspections in a crackdown on the smuggling of Chinese-made capsules filled with powdered human flesh.

Korea Customs Service says since last August it has uncovered 35 attempts to smuggle about 17,450 such capsules from China disguised as stamina-boosters.

Customs officials said the capsules were made from dead babies and infants in northeastern China, and that ethnic Koreans living there tried to smuggle them into South Korea.

"Some put herbs together in the capsules so that customs agents cannot distinguish the unique smell and colour of the human-flesh capsules. Others put the capsules in medicine containers to deceive inspectors," a customs official told the Korea Times.

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The officials said some people believe the capsules are a panacea for disease, but an investigation shows they contain superbacteria and other harmful ingredients.
29 smugglers have been arrested since the first discovery.

Officials told Yonhap news agency they will step up inspections of drugs arriving from China, particularly cities such as Yanji, Jilin, Qingdao and Tianjin, where many of the pills were believed to have been made.

- AP, HERALD ONLINE