AUM Shinrikyo cultists arrested in Japan

Kyodo (Japan), June 25, 2003
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Tokyo, 25 June: Three AUM Shinrikyo cult members have been arrested on suspicion of committing fraud in Okayama Prefecture and three others on suspicion of posing as licensed medical practitioners in Aichi Prefecture, police said Wednesday [25 June].

Okayama prefectural police officials also said they began searching about 10 facilities linked to the cult in Okayama, Osaka and Fukuoka prefectures in the morning.

According to the officials, Atsushi Sumi, 30, Hiroki Ishikawa, 35, and Keiko Yoshida, 48, are suspected of renting a condominium under false pretences last March by saying they would use the condo for housing but actually used it as an AUM facility.

The three members have denied the allegation, according to the police.

Aichi prefectural police officials, meanwhile, arrested Izumi Takahashi, 32, Masayuki Hirata, 48, and Tomomi Ishihara, 33, for allegedly violating the Medical Practitioners Law.

They are suspected of providing medical treatment using yoga techniques to a man whom they met through an Internet dating site, although they did not have medical licences, the police said.

The three hid that they were AUM members in order to solicit him for the cult, the police said, adding that they have raided four facilities related to AUM including one in Nagoya.

Police are recently beefing up investigations against the group across the country.

On Monday, Osaka prefectural police officials arrested three AUM members on suspicion of swindling 500,000 yen worth of goods last year from a mentally ill man and searched several locations, including an AUM facility in Osaka’s Nishinari Ward.

AUM renamed itself Aleph in 2001.

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