China is becoming a safe haven for scores of South Korean women seeking abortions.

The Chinese government has a strict and infamous one-child policy and pregnant South Korean mothers reportedly travel to China under false identities for abortions, which are illegal in their homeland.

In 2012, South Korea upheld a 59-year-old abortion ban, with exceptions for rape, incest or severe hereditary disorders.

The travel peaks during summer, when it attracts less attention.

China legalised abortion in 1971, following the implementation of the one-child policy. Reports suggest nearly 336 million abortions have since taken place, to control a growing population.

"Abortions are legal in China and using aliases removes any records. Chinese doctors are more skilled in abortions, due to their ample experience," an agent who organises 'abortion trips' to China, told Seoul-based daily Chosun Ilbo.

It is believed that a number of South Korean doctors are also involved in the illegal trade. The package for an abortion trip includes travel and accommodation and costs about 200m South Korean Won (£116,000).

"It is very dangerous to make long trips while pregnant or after undergoing an abortion. An abortion in facilities lacking proper sanitary conditions could result in infections or haemorrhage, leading to infertility or even death," Cha Hee-jae of the Association of Pro-life Physicians told Chosun Ilbo.

There is no recent study of abortion rates in the country. In 2005, a government study estimated that between 290,000 and 340,000 abortions were performed. The number dropped to 160,000 five years later because of the growing number of people travelling abroad.