Thousands of pills filled with powdered human flesh have been discovered by customs officials in South Korea, it was revealed today.
The capsules are in demand because they are viewed as being a medicinal 'cure-all'.
The grim trade is being run from China where corrupt medical staff are said to be tipping off medical companies when babies are aborted or delivered still-born.
The tiny corpses are then bought, stored in household refrigerators in homes of those involved in the trade before they are removed and taken to clinics where they are placed in medical drying microwaves.
Once the skin is tinder dry, it is pummelled into powder and then processed into capsules along with herbs to disguise the true ingredients from health investigators and customs officers.
The discoveries since last August has shocked even hardened customs agents who have pledged to strengthen inspections.
Chinese officials are understood to have been aware of the trade and have tried to stop the capsules being exported but thousands of packets of them have been smuggled through to South Korea.
There is a huge demand for alternative Chinese remedies - which include ground up rhino horns.
The Chinese have historically consumed human placentas to improve blood supply and circulation.
ENDANGERED SPECIES IN CHINESE MEDICINES
Chinese alternative medicines contain traces of endangered species, a study has found.
Many of the remedies are more than 2,000 years old - and claim to be alternative methods for curing disease.
The use of rhino horns in Chinese medicines has been widely criticised.
Despite the claims the 'cures' can treat everything from broken bones to headaches, there is limited proof they actually work.
A team of Australian scientists discovered that some of the medicines contained traces of black bears and antelope.
The Murdoch University team used DNA sequencing to work out what the plants and animal ingredients are.
Health authorities in Asia are concerned that if the powdered foetus trade is allowed to continue the capsules will find their way onto the internet and be sold to gullible or sick desperate people in other parts of the world.
The South Korean Customs Service said today that it had heightened its searches of suspicious packages being brought into the country by travellers from China in an attempt to stamp out the sickening trade.
According to customs agents, 35 smuggling attempts have been made since August last year involving more than 17,000 capsules disguised as 'stamina boosters'.
Hospitals and abortion clinics in China reportedly pass the remains onto drugs companies when a baby is stillborn or aborted, the South Korean SBS documentary team reported last year.
The San Francisco Times reported that tests carried out on the pills confirmed they were made up of 99.7 per cent human remains.
The tests were successfully able to establish the genders of the babies used.
There is a huge demand for the pills which are thought to enhance stamina. Microwave-dried placenta is also sought after for its alleged 'medicinal' benefits.
However, in reality the human flesh capsules contain super-bacteria and other harmful ingredients.
A number of smugglers who have been detained by the South Korean authorities have claimed they did not know what the ingredients were or the manufacturing process behind them.
'Ethnic Koreans from north-east China who now live in South Korea are those who were mostly intending to use the capsules or share them with other Korean-Chinese' said a customs official.
'They are normally brought into South Korea in luggage or posted by international mail.'
The capsules were all confiscated but no one has been punished because the amount was deemed small and they were not intended for sale, a customs official added.
Chinese newspapers have identified the north eastern provinces as the source of the human flesh capsules, in particular the Jilin region which is close to North Korea.
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