//Coronavirus-linked South Korea sect chief apologizes for virus unfold amid homicide probe

Coronavirus-linked South Korea sect chief apologizes for virus unfold amid homicide probe

The chief of a controversial spiritual sect on the heart of the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea apologized Monday as town of Seoul has began a homicide investigation into the group, saying the church refused to cooperate with efforts to cease the virus.

The pinnacle of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, Lee Man-hee – who claims he’s the second coming of Jesus Christ and can take 144,000 individuals to heaven, as promised within the Bible – bought on his knees and bowed at a rapidly organized information convention Monday, based on Straits Times.

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Within the largest outbreak outdoors of China, the bulk of the nation’s greater than 4,335 confirmed instances are members of the secretive group, labeled a cult in South Korea and by the Christian group, based on a spokesman for the church.

Lee Man-hee, a leader of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, bows during the press conference in Gapyeong, South Korea, Monday, March 2, 2020. In the hastily arranged news conference Lee, the 88-year-old leader of a religious sect which has the country’s largest cluster of infections, bowed down on the ground twice and apologized for causing the “unintentional” spread of the disease. (Kim Ju-sung/Yonhap via AP)

Lee Man-hee, a frontrunner of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, bows throughout the press convention in Gapyeong, South Korea, Monday, March 2, 2020. Within the rapidly organized information convention Lee, the 88-year-old chief of a non secular sect which has the nation’s largest cluster of infections, bowed down on the bottom twice and apologized for inflicting the “unintentional” unfold of the illness. (Kim Ju-sung/Yonhap through AP)

“We did our best but were not able to stop the spread of the virus,” the 88-year-old chief stated on the information convention in Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul.

“I’m really grateful, but at the same time, asking forgiveness. I never thought this would happen, even in my dreams,” he informed reporters, earlier than bowing low twice in a conventional signal of humility and remorse.

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Of the confirmed instances, 3,081 are from the southern metropolis of Daegu and 73 % of those instances have been linked to the Shincheonji Church close to there. Park Gained-soon, mayor of Seoul, stated Lee and different leaders of the church might have prevented such a mass unfold if they’d cooperated with authorities sooner.

Lee Man-hee, a leader of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, speaks to the media during the press conference in Gapyeong, South Korea, Monday, March 2, 2020. (Kim Ju-sung/Yonhap via AP)

Lee Man-hee, a frontrunner of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, speaks to the media throughout the press convention in Gapyeong, South Korea, Monday, March 2, 2020. (Kim Ju-sung/Yonhap through AP)

Seoul metropolis officers filed a prison grievance with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Workplace asking for an investigation of Lee and 12 others on costs of homicide and illness management act violations.

A member of the sect, often called Affected person 31, attended two companies in Daegu earlier than spreading it to many others and touring across the nation undetected. The Korea Centres for Illness Management and Prevention (KCDC) stated some members visited Wuhan, the place the virus emerged final yr, although it’s investigating whether or not that performed a task within the outbreak.

“You would be 5 centimeters away from the person who sits next to you, and have to say ‘Amen’ after every sentence the pastor speaks — it’s the best environment for the virus to spread,” An So-young, a 27-year-old who left the group, informed Reuters.

Lee Man-hee, a leader of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, attends at a press conference in Gapyeong, South Korea, Monday, March 2, 2020. (Kim Ju-sung/Yonhap via AP)

Lee Man-hee, a frontrunner of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, attends at a press convention in Gapyeong, South Korea, Monday, March 2, 2020. (Kim Ju-sung/Yonhap through AP)

On Friday, Lee known as the virus the “satan’s deed to cease the fast progress of Shincheonji,” based on a submit on an inside app utilized by members.

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Church spokesman Kim Shin-chang informed the BBC they hesitated to checklist of members, college students, and buildings to authorities due to earlier “hate crimes and violations of human rights…which have led to dying” towards the group.

“We had been fearful about releasing this info due to the security of our members,” Kim stated.

The Related Press contributed to this report.