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US News Coronavirus: the leader of the South Korean sect behind an outbreak of contamination arrested

17:05  01 august  2020
17:05  01 august  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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South Korea has arrested the leader of a religious sect linked to the country's largest coronavirus outbreak . Lee Man-hee, 88, heads the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. More than 5,000 of its members became infected, making up 36% of all Covid-19 cases in the country. The authorities accuse him of

South Korean authorities arrested the founder of a secretive Christian sect at the centre of the country's largest outbreak of COVID-19 infections on Saturday Lee Man-hee is the powerful head of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus which is linked to more than 5,200 coronavirus infections, or 36% of

Lee Man-hee, chef de l'Église Shincheonji de Jésus, prend la parole lors d'une conférence de presse dans une installation de l'église de Gapyeong le 2 mars 2020. © POOL / AFP Lee Man-hee, head of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, speaks during a press conference in a Gapyeong church facility on March 2, 2020.

In South Korea, the founder of the sect of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the country's main source of Covid-19 contamination at the start of the war epidemic, was arrested on Saturday August 1 for alleged obstruction of government efforts to stem the spread of the virus.

From our correspondent in Seoul, Louis Palligiano

The noose is tightening around the Shincheonji Church of Jesus accused of being at the heart of the spread of the coronavirus in South Korea. Its founder and current leader, Lee man-hee , was taken into custody on Saturday August 1 after the Suwon District Court issued an arrest warrant against him. He is notably accused of having provided inaccurate documents to the health authorities on the gatherings organized by his church or the list of its members.

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SEOUL: South Korean authorities arrested the founder of a secretive Christian sect at the center of the country’s largest outbreak of COVID-19 infections on Saturday for allegedly hiding crucial information from contact-tracers and other offenses.

Lee Man-hee’s Shincheonji Church of Jesus was at the centre of an outbreak but police say he hid details on members and their movements.

The 89-year-old man is suspected of having hampered the efforts of health authorities by submitting false documents to them on the number of participants in religious gatherings, and the places where they were held last February, when the sect was forming the epicenter of the outbreak in South Korea.

Suspect dismisses charges

In all, seven senior Shincheonji officials were indicted this week for violating infectious disease control law and obstructing justice.

In a statement released today, Shincheonji says he never attempted to interfere with authorities' quarantine efforts, but expressed concerns about "excessive demands" for personal information about his followers.

The country reported 31 more cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total to 14,336 infections, more than 5,000 of which are linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

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