SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, March 1, 2020 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government said that it accused Lee Man-hee, the Founder and the Chairman of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, and this secretive religious group’s 12 branch heads of murder, injury, and violation of prevention and management of infectious diseases to the Seoul Central District Public Prosecutors’ Office around 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 1.
Starting with the 31st confirmed case on February 18, the group accounted for more than 50 percent of all cases in the country, and a great number of its followers who attended the worship services held at Shincheonji’s Daegu church have been confirmed as well.
Also, many have been confirmed and died at Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo, where the funeral of Lee’s elder brother was held. It is believed that the accused ones and many other senior members attended it to pay tribute to the late one.
Under these circumstances, the accused are obliged to voluntarily get tested for the virus and make appropriate cooperation with health authorities’ epidemiological investigation in preventing transmission of the infection of the virus. However, they evaded tests and did not take adequate measures.
Besides, Shincheonji provided insufficient and false information on its believers to the central government and local governments, which obstructed the work of the health authorities.
Such acts taken by the accused constitute murder and injury charges under criminal law and providing inaccurate information would violate the law pertaining to infectious disease control, which leads the Seoul Metropolitan Government to file a complaint against them.
Mayor Park Won-Soon has been asking through the media Lee and his followers to get tested for the virus and take active measures. He said, “The prosecution should investigate and punish key leaders of the Shincheonji, accountable for the recent spread of the deadly virus, in a swift and stern manner.”