Asia Pacific|South Korean Church Leader Gets Suspended Prison Term After Virus Fallout
Lee Man-hee’s church, Shincheonji, was the epicenter of the primary wave of coronavirus infections in South Korea final yr.
Lee Man-hee, a pacesetter of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, leaving a detention middle in Suwon, South Korea, in November.Credit…Hong Ki-Won/Yonhap, by way of Associated Press
- Jan. 13, 2021Updated 3:45 a.m. ET
SEOUL, South Korea — The chief of a secretive non secular sect that was on the middle of a coronavirus outbreak in South Korea final yr obtained a three-year jail time period on Wednesday on fees of embezzling church cash.
But Lee Man-hee, 89, the founding father of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, was acquitted on a cost of conspiring to impede the well being authorities’ efforts to battle the virus. Mr. Lee’s jail time period was suspended for 4 years, which implies that he’ll stay free until he commits a criminal offense inside that point.
The speedy unfold of the virus among the many church’s worshipers in Daegu, a metropolis within the southeast, in February and early March final yr had briefly made South Korea house to the world’s largest coronavirus outbreak outdoors China. A complete of 5,213 circumstances have been discovered amongst church members and their contacts, based on authorities information.
Prosecutors arrested Mr. Lee in August on fees that he and different church officers had obstructed the federal government’s efforts to battle the epidemic by not absolutely disclosing the variety of worshipers and their gathering locations. Mr. Lee was additionally accused of embezzling 5.6 billion gained, or $5.1 million, from church funds to construct an opulent “peace palace” north of Seoul, the capital.
He was additionally accused of utilizing public services for non secular actions with out permission from the native authorities.
Mr. Lee was launched on bail final November.