SEOUL, South Korea, July 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — On Tuesday, July 28th a warrant was filed for the arrest of Chairman Lee Man-Hee, leader of Shincheonji Church of Jesus. It was alleged that he had submitted a falsified list of church members and facilities to the government and embezzled 5 million won.
This follows the arrests earlier this month of three other Shincheonji Church leaders for charges of «murder through wilful negligence.» After the Coronavirus outbreak that took place at the church’s Daegu branch in February, the government requested a full membership list of the church’s 300,000 members for contact tracing. Because some of the information was initially missing or incomplete, the government pressed charges.
The charges are three-fold: the alleged omission of the church’s membership list, the list of church facilities, and embezzlement charges.
5 billion won was used to purchase Shincheonji’s Peace Palace — a training center for Shincheonji members. Mr. Lee insisted that he didn’t withdraw money for illegal purposes, and that if you look at the documents the land and building were not purchased in his name but for the church. A tax probe was launched that resulted in the removal of the church’s organizational and property licenses as well. The 89-year-old church leader will await prosecution for his case.
This isn’t the first time religious leaders have been detained by authorities for reasons related to the Coronavirus. In China, over 518 Uighur religious leaders have been detailed since 2016, and it has been escalating since then. Additionally, Chinese Christians have been arrested for even participating in online worship services over Zoom, as was the case with China’s Early Rain Covenant Church. Six leaders were arrested and ordered to cease all religious activity.
«At that time I was also in the Zoom call, but there was a long period of time where I did not hear a thing. I thought it’s the network connection issue at first, but I soon heard a quarrel erupt. Our co-worker Wang Jun was questioning some people, [saying], ‘Who are you to do this [to us]?'»
Additionally, in India, Muslims and their leaders have received blame from the public and the government because of the virus’ spread that allegedly took place at a Tablighi Jamaat religious gathering.
As the Coronavirus progresses there are bound to be many cases and accusations of human rights issues, religious freedom violations, and discrimination. Thepersecuted.org will do its best to report objectively on any and all alleged abuses of justice.
The Persecuted is a news source dedicated to the factual research and analysis of human rights violations. For more information, visit thepersecuted.org.
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