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3 Shincheonji officials arrested for hindering virus control measures

All News 23:21 July 08, 2020

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday arrested three officials of a religious sect blamed for a major infection cluster at the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The Suwon District Court issued arrest warrants for the three officials of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus on charges of obstructing justice and inciting destruction of evidence, court officials said. The court turned down the request for arrest warrants for two other officials.

They are accused of handing in false documents to the health authorities around February about the number of followers and venues for past gatherings when the COVID-19 outbreak began to spread quickly.

They deleted visitor logs of about 100 followers because the followers requested their personal details not be submitted to the authorities.

One of its churches in the southern city of Daegu became the epicenter of the first infection cluster, with more than 4,000 followers contracting the virus. As of late June, the Shincheonji followers accounted for over 40 percent of the country's total caseload.

Police guard the entrance of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus building in the southern city of Daegu after district prosecutors and Daegu city officials entered the building as part of their probe into the church in connection with a coronavirus infection cluster, in this photo provided by Daegu city on March 17, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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