December 15, 2004 – YONGIN, Gyeonggi – Four members of a religious cult that believes in resurrection and eternal life are under investigation for burying their leader alive by sealing him in an underground room and pouring concrete over the entrance.
Police uncovered yesterday the decomposed body of a 54-year-old man, thought to be the head of the cult. The remains were found in the basement of a social welfare office in Yongin, Gyeonggi province.
According to Gyeonggi police, Mr. Song, the cult’s leader, is thought to have died several years ago. He was found lying in bed by police. There were no external injuries, so police said they believe he died of starvation.
Mr. Song began treating people with incurable illnesses with chi, or life energy, from the late 1980s and then began to give his devotees religious training. But after Mr. Song’s chi “treatments” failed to show measurable effects, his followers became upset. Police said they believe that an internal struggle involving the ownership of the cult’s property led to the four members sealing Mr. Song in what became his tomb.
After uncovering the body yesterday, the police referred the case to the National Institute of Scientific Investigation for an autopsy to discover the exact cause of death.
“We received a tip that Mr. Song was confined and killed by his followers because they wanted to experience eternal life and resurrection,” a police representative said. “We are investigating whether this was caused by a group of devotees who were into this new pseudo-religion.”