The Korea Times, Aug. 3, 2003
By Soh Ji-young, Staff Reporter
Claude Vorilhon, also known as Rael, was forced to leave South Korea after being detained for nine hours at Incheon International Airport.
The French founder of the Raelian Movement arrived at the airport at around 2:17 a.m. from Toronto, Canada, with his wife, but was prohibited from entering the country by immigration authorities. The Raelian Movement is a religious group that believes aliens landed on Earth 25,000 years ago and started the human race through cloning.
Rael’s entry ban was enforced at the request of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which feared the leader would promote human cloning activities during his stay. Rael is also the founder of Clonaid, a company which claims it has produced the first human clones.
During an interview with Yonhap News Agency, the cult leader accused the government of treating him “like a North Korean,” and said he will sue the South Korean government and the ministry for violating his human rights.
Saying he currently has no connections with Clonaid, Rael said he cannot understand the move as he has visited South Korea on more than 10 occasions. Rael added he will not return until the South Korean government apologizes for the incident.
To protest its leader’s denial of entry, the Raelian Movement said it will mobilize its more than 60,000 global followers to hold protests at Korean embassies around the world. The movement’s Korean chapter said it will stage protests in front of the Health-Welfare Ministry.
Between now and his departure on August 18, the 56-year-old cult leader was scheduled to give a news conference and a public lecture about human cloning. He was also due to take part in a seminar with about 700 Raelian followers. There are approximately 4,000 Raelians in South Korea.
A former journalist and racecar driver, Rael founded the Raelian Movement in 1973 and Clonaid in 1997.