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(2nd LD) Controversial pastor reincarcerated after court cancels bail

All News 17:47 September 07, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES headline, lead, details, photos following reincarceration)

SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Yonhap) -- A controversial pastor at the center of a COVID-19 resurgence in the country was reincarcerated after a court canceled his bail Monday, legal sources said.

Under the court's decision, Jun Kwang-hoon returned to Seoul Detention Center in Uiwang, south of Seoul, at 4:30 p.m.

Jun, who pastors Sarang Jeil Church in northern Seoul, was accused by prosecutors last month of violating the conditions for his bail by taking part in large-scale anti-government rallies in downtown Seoul.

Jun Kwang-hoon (C), a pastor of Sarang Jeil Church, speaks to reporters outside the church in northern Seoul on Sept. 7, 2020. (Yonhap)

The prosecutors requested his bail be canceled, and the Seoul Central District Court accepted the request on Monday, according to the sources. The court also confiscated a deposit of 30 million won (US$25,284) from Jun.

"If a person is arrested at the single word of a president, this can't be considered a country," Jun said after police escorted him from his residence attached to the church to take him to a Seoul detention facility. "The Republic of Korea has become a totalitarian state."

Asked if he plans to appeal, Jun said, "Of course I will."

The decision comes 140 days after Jun was released on bail pending an investigation into charges he violated public election laws ahead of the April 15 parliamentary elections. He was also charged with libel against President Moon Jae-in.

Jun's conditions for bail included a ban on attending all illegal rallies or protests, or those related to the investigation.

In accepting the prosecution's request, the court cited Jun's violation of those conditions.

Jun Kwang-hoon speaks at a mass anti-government rally held in central Seoul on Aug. 15, 2020. (Yonhap)
Police restrict parts of Gwanghwamun in central Seoul on Aug. 15, 2020, as mass rallies take place. (Yonhap)

Jun tested positive for COVID-19 two days after he took part in the Aug. 15 rallies. He was subsequently hospitalized and later discharged from the hospital on Sept. 2.

Police have raided Jun's house and facilities related to the church to secure evidence that the church hampered the government's efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

The church and Jun have attracted conservative groups critical of the Moon Jae-in government.

Church members, local residents and reporters gathered outside Jun's home for his departure, leading to clashes between residents in the neighborhood who called for the church's removal and church members and their supporters.

hague@yna.co.kr
(END)

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