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Posted : 2007-05-13 18:55
Updated : 2007-05-13 18:55

[University]Columbia University Networks Global Alumni

By Kang Shin-who
Staff Reporter

The Chinese authorities have detained, a man who is believed Jung Myung-seok, founder of the notorious JMS (Jesus Morning Star) cult, South Korean officials said on Friday.

China recently told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade that it was holding a man believed to be Jung in custody, ministry sources said.

The government is asking China to hand over Jung who is being questioned by police in Anshan, Liaoning Province, northeastern China, according to the Yonhap News Agency in Seoul.

Jung has been wanted by Korean police, for fraud, rape and embezzlement, since he fled the country in June 1999. The pseudo-religious leader was placed on the Interpol wanted list in 2002.

He was arrested in 2003 for illegally staying in Hong Kong but was released on bail and then fled. He had been believed to be hiding in China.

Established in Korea around 1980, the JMS expanded to Japan under the name of ``Setsuri,’’ which means ``providence’’ in Japanese, around 1987.

Last January, Japanese police raided facilities connected to the Setsuri cult in Chiba on suspicion that a South Korean woman who belongs to the group had illegally obtained resident status. There are more than 2,000 followers of the cult in Japan, according to reports.

Former members of the group, said followers choose tall, pretty and young female victims as ``sexual gifts’’ and send photos of them to Jung.

Jung then selects girls from the photos and calls the selectees from overseas to rape them.

Jung asserts that he is the Messiah who has the responsibility of saving mankind and, has come with new teachings to finish the incomplete message and mission of Jesus Christ.

Members of the cult refer to him as president, teacher or Lord, former group members said.

kswho@koreatimes.co.kr

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