South Korea will crack down on restaurants that serve snake soup as a popular summer dish, an official said Tuesday.
"A nationwide crackdown against restaurants selling snake meat or soup will be carried out between June 16 to July 15," Son Sam-Gi, deputy director of the environment ministry, told AFP.
Poaching or smuggling snakes is illegal and punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year or a maximum fine of five million won (4,090 dollars).
However, the consumption of snake soup soars in the summer because of a widespread belief that the dish is cooling and enhances virility.
"Occasionally, some celebrities and sports players were reported bragging about their consumption of virility-boosting food like snakes, but they should know it's all illegal," a ministry official told Yonhap news agency.