Man believed to be leader of Setsuri cult held in China

Kyodo News, Japan/May 12, 2007

The Chinese public security authorities have detained a man who is believed to be the leader of a South Korea-originated cult and on a wanted list for rape charges, South Korean public security officials said Friday.

South Korean authorities have put on the international wanted list Jung Myung Seok, founder of the group JMS and the leader of a Japanese arm of the cult called "Setsuri," or Providence, in Japanese as he is believed to have fled to China.

China recently told South Korea's foreign ministry that it has held a man who is believed to be Jung in custody, the South Korean officials said.

The South Korean government is asking China to hand him over after identifying him.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that the man had been detained on May 1. But there is a report that he has been held in custody for about one year.

He is being interrogated by the authorities in the northeastern Chinese city of Anshan, Liaoning Province, according to Yonhap.

In January, Japanese police raided facilities connected to the Setsuri cult in the city of Chiba on suspicion that a senior member, a South Korean woman, has illegally obtained her resident status.

It is believed that Setsuri was established in South Korea around 1980 and became active in Japan around 1987.

There are reportedly more than 2,000 followers of the cult in Japan.

Its founder Jung allegedly assaulted several female members sexually.

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