Members of a religious sect being questioned over the disappearance of other followers yesterday admitted to murdering and secretly burying nine members between 1984 and 1992, the prosecution said.
Four followers of the group were previously jailed for murder back in 1995.
According to the prosecution, one of leaders of the group, identified only by his surname Kim, admitted to the slaughter of nine believers, including a man identified by only his last name Ji who has been missing since August 1990. Ji¡’s remains were found yesterday, buried at a hill near Kumkwang Reservoir in Ansung, Kyonggi Province, where investigators are also searching for another victim, identified by only his last name Chon.
The prosecution arrested Kim, along with the founder of the sect, identified by only his last name Cho, and another member Chong.
Kim told the prosecution that Cho had directed him and other members to murder believers who questioned his authority. The slaughtered members were secretly buried around the country, according to Kim. Chong, on the other hand, threatened Kim that he would disclose his involvement in the murders and demanded money.
The organization was founded in Puchon, Kyonggi Province by Cho in 1981. Its main dogma is that eternal life can be obtained by observing Cho¡’s 131 commandments, which include avoiding sexual relations during marriage. It once had over 3,000 devotees.
Currently, about thirty believers are undergoing an orientation program at is headquarter in Puchon. The group, known to have branches in major cities, including Taegu and Pusan, held a ceremony to celebrate the birthday of its founder on Aug. 12.