Thursday, April 15, 2021
Home News Reports South Korea: Christian sect with secret religious practises spread coronavirus across the country, criminal...

South Korea: Christian sect with secret religious practises spread coronavirus across the country, criminal charges to be filed against the cult

The authorities want to investigate whether due to cult's unorthodox religious practises and taste for secrecy, it has put lives at risk during the coronavirus outbreak. More than 5,000 people have been infected and at least 28 deaths to date in South Korea, the largest cluster of infections outside of China. 

The investigators in South Korea are planning to criminally charge 12 executives of the controversial Shincheonji Church of Jesus for the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country, the disease that results from the coronavirus, France 24 reports.

According to the reports, the 80-year-old Lee Man-hee, 80, leader the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a secretive religious sect often described as a cult, will be charged by South Korean investigators for the propagation of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019) in South Korea. Eleven other executives of the movement are also in investigators’ sights.

Lee Man-hee, who fancies himself the new “messiah” and the leader of a South Korean sect linked to more than half the country’s 4,000-plus coronavirus cases had also apologized for the spread of the disease.

“I would like to offer my sincere apology to the people on behalf of the members,” said Shincheonji head Lee Man-hee.

The 88-year-old twice got down on his knees to bow before reporters in Gapyeong, his head to the floor. “Although it was not intentional, many people have been infected,” he said. He added, “We put our utmost efforts but were unable to prevent it all. I seek the forgiveness of the people.”

The authorities want to investigate whether due to cult’s unorthodox religious practises and preference for secrecy, it has put lives at risk during the coronavirus outbreak. More than 5,000 people have been infected and at least 28 deaths have happened to date in South Korea, the largest cluster of infections outside of China.

The virus spread in South Korea after a 61-year-old woman who was a member of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the city of Taegu was diagnosed with the symptoms. The elderly lady is considered to be at ground zero of the explosion of COVID-19 cases. The Korean health authorities believe one in five of the people infected by the coronavirus can be linked to her.

The woman first went to the hospital on February 7 after a minor traffic accident. During that tests, she complained of a pain in her throat. She then returned to the hospital a few days later for treatment of a persistent fever. The doctors had twice recommended that she submit to coronavirus screening.

However, the woman had refused to take a test both times. Later, her health continued to deteriorate and 10 days later on February 17, doctors examined her more closely and diagnosed a COVID-19 infection.

In the meantime, the patient had managed, twice, to leave the hospital to attend the Sunday gatherings of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. Each time, she had contact with a thousand fellow faithful.

“Her behaviour is not surprising to people familiar with the church,” said Chung Yun-Seok, a South Korean expert on religious cults. “To them, getting sick is a sin because it prevents them from doing God’s work,” Seok added.

Shincheonji Church of Jesus: A cult of secrecy

The discovery of infection in Taegu and the link made with the Shincheonji Church of Jesus has been a turning point in South Korea’s coronavirus battle. The authorities believe that the very secretive practices of the sect have resulted in members’ keeping their membership secret from their relations, even from their parents.

“To Shincheonji members, their priority is not the safety issue but rather protecting” the church, Ji-il Tark, a Busan Presbyterian University theology professor who studies the group revealed.

Initially, the church executives were accused of a lack of forthrightness, but later, officially, offered assurances that they were cooperating completely. However, they had sent messages to members asking them to lie about their membership in Shincheonji Church if contacted.

The groups religious practises is considered to be the reason for the rapid spread of the virus. The group members meet often in small halls, where they are huddled close together. The members are not allowed to wear any accessories on their faces as such practices are considered insults to God.

In addition to that, participating in weekly meetings is mandatory, even in case of illness. The members of the movement must record every detail during the prayer meeting, allowing executives of the group to monitor devotees’ diligence.

With the church head now apologising for the spread of the virus, there are growing demands seeking a ban on the cult. A petition signed by more than a million people has been presented to the South Korean government requesting the dissolution of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, which counts more than 260,000 members.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Hindu leader in Panipat explains why he thought it is necessary to come out in streets in support of Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati

A Muslim mob came face to face with Hindu organisations who carried out a sit-in vigil in support of Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati

Amdavad Municipal Corporation introduces ‘drive through’ RTPCR testing as COVID-19 cases surge in the state

First ever drive-through RTPCR testing centre opened in Ahmedabad, Gujarat as the state battles Chinese coronavirus

UP govt ramps up measures to fight the resurgent COVID-19 outbreak, airlifts 25,000 doses of Remdesivir using govt plane from Gujarat

The Uttar Pradesh government is working on a war-footing to blunt the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak

One more video of a mob calling for beheading Yati Narsimhanand Saraswati for ‘insulting Prophet Muhammad’ goes viral

Muslims across the country are demanding the beheading of Yati Narsimhanand Saraswati after his comments criticising Islam

Tours and travels operators in Mumbai issuing fake COVID-19 negative reports for Rs 300: Report reveals

As people in Mumbai rush to get out of Maharashtra amidst worsening coronavirus outbreak, travel agents are arranging bogus COVID-negative reports for Rs 300 to Rs 500 to enable their exit.

Maha COVID-19 crisis: Hospital beds and ventilators running short, scarcity in oxygen and Remdesivir supply, and inordinate delays in testing

Maharashtra is in a midst of a resurgent coronavirus outbreak as the state has reported over 60,212 fresh COVID-19 cases on Tuesday

Recently Popular

Pfizer wanted Brazil, Argentina to put military bases, Federal reserve as collateral: Why India kept Pfizer away and how the usual suspects are wrong

Pfizer has been accused of countries in Latin America of pledging their sovereign assets, military bases and financial reserves to protect itself from any adverse fallout of the vaccine

OpIndia Exclusive: Tata Communications suffers data leak, hackers claim to have sold access to company’s servers, over 50GB data still up for sale

As per two posts by hackers on a hackers' forum, they have gained access to Tata Communications servers and sold them.

What happened in Chhabra after Hindu man was stabbed by Muslim men: Call for peace, attack on a Hindu the next day and more

On April 12, the administration extended curfew for one more day at Chhabra, Baran district in Rajasthan after the communal riot

Attempts to draw false equivalence between the Kumbh Mela and Tablighi Jamaat congregation do not make sense: Here’s why

Attempts are being made to draw false equivalences between the Kumbh Mela and the Tablighi Jamaat congregation last year.

It’s a lung… it’s a burnt toast… it’s a duck pic… No! It’s a painting by Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee did not appear in any election rallies or gave any statement regarding the ongoing Assembly elections in West Bengal after Election Commission banned her from campaigning for 24 hours

Mayor Sadiq Khan vows to bring the Indian Premier League to London to boost his reelection chances: Details

London mayor Sadiq Khan promises to bring the Indian Premier League to the British capital as part of his reelection campaign.
- Advertisement -


Connect with us