Posted : 2014-04-28 17:02
Updated : 2014-04-28 21:04

Salvation sect stages protest rally

By Kang Seung-woo

Followers of the Evangelical Baptist Church staged a protest rally Monday against media coverage of, and the prosecution investigation into, the religious cult and speculation about its links to the operator of the ill-fated ferry Sewol.

Six hundred believers in the religious sect, founded by Chonghaejin Marine owner Yoo Byung-eun, gathered in front of the headquarters of the Korea Broadcasting System in Yeouido, Seoul.

"We are saddened by the Sewol disaster, but the media and prosecution are raising questions that are not related to us," said a follower.

They rejected suspicions that the Evangelical Baptist Church had cross-border transactions with affiliates of the ferry operator.

In addition, they claimed it was groundless that monetary offerings from followers went to Yoo, calling such claims "malicious and lopsided."

They said that unlike reports, most people working for the ferry operator are not connected to their religion.

"Very few Chonghaejin Marine employees are followers of the church; but Captain Lee Jun-seok and most of people in the company are not," they said.

Yoo was previously a member of the religious cult, called Odaeyang, making him a suspect in the cult's 1987 mass suicide-murder. More than 30 people from the group were found dead, bound and gagged in a factory outside of Seoul. Investigators, however, found no evidence tying the event to Yoo.

"The Odaeyang incident was declared to be no connection to the Evangelical Baptist Church," they said.

The group also argued that media outlets are misrepresenting its doctrine.

They held a press conference last week and denied suspicions surrounding the religious group.

To prevent a confrontation, police deployed 480 officers around the location of the protest.

The joint prosecution-police investigation team said the religious cult was the source of Yoo's funds, and it is now questioning relevant people about this.

On April 16, the ferry carrying 476 passengers capsized off the country's southwestern coast on its way to the resort island of Jeju, leaving more than 300 people dead or missing.

As the country was tracking down people and the failed system responsible for the disaster, investigators were led to Yoo and his family, who controlled Chonghaejin Marine through stakes connecting a series of affiliates.

관련 한글 기사

구원파 신도들 "세월호사고·비리의혹 무관" 항의집회

세월호 실소유주인 유병언(73) 전 세모그룹 회장의 비리 의혹에 대한 수사가 진행 중인 가운데 유 전 회장이 이끈 것으로 알려진 기독교복음침례회(일명 구원파)가 언론이 왜곡보도를 하고 있다며 항의하고 나섰다.

기독교복음침례회 서울교회 신도 900여명은 28일 오후 서울 여의도 KBS 본관 앞에서 집회를 열고 '세월호 침몰 사고와 관련없는 악의적인 보도로 구원파가 사회악으로 지목돼 마녀사냥을 당하고 있다'며 '언론은 편파·왜곡 보도를 중단하라'고 요구했다.

세월호 참사 희생자들을 애도하는 뜻에서 검은 옷에 노란 리본을 달고 집회에 나온 이들은 언론 보도와 달리 세월호 사고나 비리 의혹과 관련이 없다고 재차 강조했다.

이들은 '세월호 침몰의 책임은 물론 선장을 구원파로 몰아 사고를 초래한 것처럼 몰고 가는 언론 보도는 터무니없다'며 '청해진해운 직원의 상당수가 구원파 신도라는 보도도 사실이 아니다'라고 주장했다.

이어 '오대양 사건은 일부 이탈한 교인들이 저지른 일로 구원파와 무관한데 지금 이 시점에 교단과 다시 연결짓는 것은 부당하다'고 말했다.

이들은 아울러 구원파가 세월호 선사인 청해진해운의 관계사와 거액의 자금을 주고받았다는 의혹을 전면 부인하고, 신도들의 헌금이 유 전 회장 측으로 흘러갔다는 보도 역시 사실무근이라고 주장했다.

이들은 '연일 이어지는 무차별 폭격보도로 우리 아이들이 학교에서 따돌림을 당하는 등 피해를 보고 있다'며 '언론은 교단에 대한 무차별 공격을 중단하고 공정하게 보도하라'고 요구했다.

'세월호 실소유주 비리'를 수사 중인 검찰은 유 전 회장 삼부자가 소유한 서류상 회사(페이퍼컴퍼니)와 구원파 신도들이 낸 헌금이나 사채가 유 전 회장 일가의 주요 자금줄이라고 보고 수사를 확대하고 있다. (연합뉴스)

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