arrested the leader of the sect at the outbreak origin, Lee Man-hee

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AGI – The leader of the. Has been arrested in South Korea Christian sect South Korean ShincheonjiLee Man-hee, 88: is accused of attempting to thwart efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus when his group became the outbreak that triggered the epidemic in South Korea.

Lee allegedly forwarded to the health authorities false documents about the number of participants in the various religious ceremonies held by the sect in February, when precisely the Shincheonji sect spread the number of infections in the country.

He is also accused of misappropriation about 5.6 billion won (about 4.9 million euros) of group funds and to have organized religious events without authorization between 2015 and 2019. In July, seven other high representatives of the sect were also accused of hinder investigation of health authorities and three of them remain in custody.

About 4,000 faithful of Shincheonji, mainly from Daegu city, some 230 kilometers southeast of Seoul, were infected with the coronavirus and became the source of an outbreak that reached over 5,000 infections in total; months later, this figure still represents more than a third of the total number of infected in South Korea, where 14,305 cases have so far been recorded.

The Christian cult founded by Lee in 1984 generally enjoys one bad public image among South Koreans: those who know the group consider it a very destructive sect due to the effect it has on its members, who tend to sever all ties with friends and family; the secrecy surrounding many of its activities also concerns techniques for capturing new faithful.

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