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Human Flesh Pills: China To Investigate Dead Baby Capsule Claims

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BEIJING -- China will reinvestigate allegations that Chinese-made drug capsules containing powdered remains of dead babies are being smuggled into South Korea, state media reported Tuesday.

Ministry of Health spokesman Deng Haihua said an investigation launched last August found no proof that such capsules were being manufactured in China, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Some people believe the capsules can cure a variety of diseases.

Deng said in a statement that China would investigate again following new reports of such pills being smuggled into South Korea, Xinhua reported.

The statement was not posted on the ministry's website and calls to the ministry rang unanswered.

The Korea Customs Service said Monday it had seized capsules made in northeastern China from dead babies whose bodies were chopped into small pieces and dried on stoves before being turned into powder.

Deng said Chinese health departments would work with police, customs agencies and commerce authorities to investigate the latest claims, Xinhua said.

The South Korean customs agency began investigating after receiving a tip a year ago. No sicknesses have been reported from ingesting the capsules.

South Korean customs officials have refused to say where the dead babies came from or who made the capsules, citing possible diplomatic friction with Beijing.

They said they had discovered 35 smuggling attempts since August of about 17,450 capsules disguised as stamina boosters. Some people believe the capsules are a panacea for disease. However, they contain bacteria and other harmful ingredients, the customs agency said.

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