SEOUL, South Korea, March 4, 2011 ( – Infamous Korean cloning doctor, Hwang Woo Suk, who faked “successful” human cloning experiments in 2005, has been forced to abandon a multi-million dollar project deal in Libya due to the violence within the country.

Hwang Woo Suk reportedly traveled to Libya last month to discuss and sign a $133 million stem cell and DNA research contract.  Officials at Hwang’s SooAm Biotech Research Foundation said he received $800,000 in advance payment from Libyan officials.  He has now had to flee the country without signing the contract. 

Hwang went to meet with researchers at the country’s state research institutes, which reportedly hope to advance bioengineering technology, such as animal cloning and stem cell research.

Hwang Woo Suk is well-known as the head of a team of South Korean scientists who purportedly cloned the first human embryos in 2005.  Later the same year, Hwang was publicly “disgraced” for his unethical practices in obtaining human eggs and accused of “fabricating” the evidence in his embryo cloning experiments.  In 2006, he was tried for fraud, embezzlement, and ethics violations.  The prosecutors said their investigation confirmed that no cloned stem cells were ever made by Hwang and his team.  In 2009 he was convicted, but has since received a suspended prison term. 

During the time that Hwang was still believed to have cloned the first human embryos, he tried to differentiate “human cloning” of embryos for experiments from what is usually referred to as “reproductive cloning” – in the latter, the cloned embryos are allowed to be brought to term instead of being killed for research.  He insisted that what he was doing was not human cloning and therefore ethical.

He said that cloning experiments were “dangerous, complicated and unethical,” and that he would never consider making human clones.

“Cloning a human being is nonsense. Briefly, it is not ethical, it is not safe at all, and it’s technically impossible,” Hwang said. “Cloned human beings are merely a science fiction fantasy. I can assure you that on this globe, you’ll never bump into a cloned human being at least within 100 years.”

Recently, Hwang has remained largely outside of the public eye at his research foundation.  However, news of his operations in Libya have renewed media attention.


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