A South Korean court sentenced a jail term to the operator of “Anaki,” the Korean abbreviation of the now-defunct online community that advocated child care in extremely naturalistic ways and sold unauthorized herbal medicines.
The Daegu District Court on Friday ordered two and a half years in prison, three years on probation, and a fine of 30 million won ($26,894) to Oriental medicine practitioner Kim Hyo-jin, who was indicted for manufacturing illicit drugs and violating the Food Sanitation Act.
Kim’s husband, who was also indicted, was sentenced to eight months in prison and two years on probation. A manufacturer, who sold activated charcoal, originally a filter aid, as a food ingredient, was ordered two years in prison, three years on probation, and a fine of 20 million won.
According to the police, Kim sold more than 480 products made of activated charcoal to patients visiting her clinic and members of the online community from December 2015 to April this year, saying they were effective in detoxification.
From April 2016 to May 2017, Kim sold unauthorized herbal medicines, made of nine Oriental medicinal herbs, to the Anaki members and charged them 30,000 won per product. In total, she sold 549 products on 287 occasions.
In November last year, the police sent Kim to the prosecution, and the prosecution turned the case on trial, charging Kim with violation of the Act on Special Measures for the Control of Public Health Crimes and the Food Sanitation Act.
On Friday, the Daegu court found Kim guilty.
“Kim sold activated charcoal, manufactured in an unsanitary environment, to parents of young children by deceiving them that the products had therapeutic effects. There is a similar crime case where the offender was sentenced with a fine,” the court said. “However, the sold products did not contain heavy metals such as arsenic.”
Bang Sang-hyeok, vice president of the Korean Medical Association, said the court should have given a stronger punishment to Kim.
“Given the fact that Kim’s acts were harmful to the public health, the court should have made a more strict judgment,” Bang said. “I feel a little bit sorry on this part. Laws should be kept in place for the public health.”
Bang said he heard that Kim also received disciplinary measures from the Association of Korean Medicine, which is now reviewing the measures.
“I hope that the Oriental medicine community can make efforts to ‘purify themselves.’ The association is doing its best to right the wrong childcare methods and incorrect information about healthcare.”
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