AUM boss fleeces feeble-minded follower

Mainichi Daily News / Compiled from wire reports (Japan), June 24, 2003

OSAKA — Doomsday cult AUM Shinrikyo‘s Osaka branch leader has been arrested for duping a mentally unstable man into handing over his collection of books and computer software by telling him his belongings were possessed by demons, police said.

Akira Hori, the branch boss, and two other unnamed AUM followers, were arrested for fraud after they allegedly tricked the man out of possessions worth some 550,000 yen.

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Police said the three AUM cultists approached the 31-year-old man on Oct. 14 last year and told him that his books were possessed by demons and that he needed to dispose of them immediately. The man entrusted the books to the cultists, who sold them soon after receiving them. The man filed a criminal complaint with the police the following month.

Police said that the man started regularly attending an AUM facility in about September 2000.

They added that his mental problems arose after he began taking part in AUM’s religious activities after January 2002.

AUM members have admitted to a series of crimes, including the deadly March 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12 and injured thousands more.

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