SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean cult leader, who allegedly raped female followers claiming he was a reincarnated Jesus Christ, has been arrested in China after more than six years on the run, Seoul’s Justice Ministry said Wednesday.
Chinese police arrested 62-year-old Jung Myung-seok May 1 in Beijing, and South Korea wants him to be sent to Seoul to face charges of rape and sexual assault, said Jun Sung-won, a prosecutor at the ministry.
He was the leader of the cult Jesus Morning Star or JMS. The acronym also represents the initials of his name.
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The prosecutor declined to elaborate on the charges, and said it was unclear when Jung could be extradited because Chinese authorities are investigating him over unspecified separate charges.
Local media have reported that Jung raped followers and forced them to have group sex with him, saying God allowed him all women in the world and warning they would find themselves “in great trouble” if they rejected his demands.
His case became known after Korean television network SBS first carried a report on his alleged wrongdoing in 1999. At that time, about 6,000 followers staged a protest in front of the TV station over the report.
Jung fled to Japan in 2001, prosecutor Jun said.
In 2003, he was arrested in Hong Kong for visa violations, but freed on bail. He then fled to China.
It is unclear how many followers the cult now has.