The Supreme Court sentenced a jail term to the operator of “Anaki,” the Korean abbreviation of the now-defunct online community that advocated extremely naturalistic childcare and sold unauthorized herbal medicines.
The court ordered two and a half years in prison, three years of probation, and a fine of 30 million won ($25,224) to Oriental medicine practitioner Kim Hyo-jin, who was indicted for manufacturing illicit drugs and violating the Food Sanitation Act and dismissed Kim’s appeal.
Kim sold more than 480 units of herbal medications made of activated charcoal to patients visiting her clinic and members of the online community from December 2015 to April 2018, 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 unit. In total, she sold 549 products on 287 occasions.
Kim Kyo-woong, head of the Korean Medical Association’s committee to respond to Oriental medicine, said the ruling was reasonable. “In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the health authorities should respond to ‘Anaki’-like acts swiftly and sternly,” he said.
Because Kim had Oriental medical license, she made other people believe as if avoiding vaccinations, exposing burned children to sunlight or getting them in 40-degree warm water, or feeding children charcoal powder to cure enteritis were effective in Oriental medicine, Kim of the KMA went on to say.
Kim criticized the Oriental medicine practitioner for still operating a similar online café (Child Rearing in Safe and Healthy Ways) and distributing distorted information.
“She is undermining medical providers’ ethics standards and credibility. To prevent people from any damage incurred by wrong medical information, we should take immediate actions,” he said.
Kim of the KMA emphasized that he would not only treat patients victimized by unauthorized medical practice and hunt down perpetrators but expand the KMA’s special committee to respond to Oriental medicine through local associations of physicians.
Gong Hye-jeong, president of Korea Child Abuse Prevention Association, also welcomed the ruling. She had raised the issue of child abuse of the Anaki operator and placed it in the public arena.
“In the wake of the latest ruling, I hope there will be no more parents who push their children into suffering through unverified treatments or fill their desires,” she said.
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