Wed, Jan 02, 2008
Alleged S.Korean rapist cult chief faces extradition

SEOUL - CHINA'S top court has approved the extradition of a South Korean cult leader accused of raping his female followers, the justice ministry in Seoul said on Wednesday.

China's Supreme People's Court last month upheld a decision by a tribunal in the northeastern province of Liaoning to extradite Jeong Myeong Seok, it said.

'It will take several more months until the extradition is carried out following a final decision by the State Council (cabinet),' a ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Jeong, aged in his early sixties, set up a cult known as JMS after his initials. He fled South Korea in 1999, one day after rape allegations against him were aired on national television.

In 2001 Jeong was formally charged in his absence with rape.

He was arrested in Hong Kong in 2003 on visa violations, fled an extradition hearing but was detained by Chinese authorities in May last year.

He claims he has received special revelations from God. Former cult members, mostly young girls, have told police they were instructed to undress for a 'health check' and to have sex with him to wipe out their sins.

The girls said they were threatened with 'spiritual death' if they spoke of their experiences, according to previous reports by Yonhap new agency.

Jeong is still believed to command thousands of followers including students, soldiers, teachers and children, it said last year. -- AFP

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