June 24, 2020 12:32
Daegu city officials have filed a W100 billion lawsuit against the Shincheonji sect accusing it of causing massive damages to the city by becoming a hotbed of coronavirus infections and triggering an uncontrollable spread (US$1=W1,209).
Seoul city already filed a W200 million lawsuit against the dubious sect in March this year.
Daegu city officials said Monday that the lawsuit was filed last week against the sect's leader, Lee Man-hee. The initial compensation claim was set at W100 billion out of a total damage figure of around W146 billion for which the city pledged to provide proof at trial.
It stems from the sect's refusal to cooperate with health authorities after a mass outbreak among its members. "We requested active cooperation from the Shincheonji sect in providing a list of members for testing, self-isolation and quarantine, but the church left out names of members and worship centers which hindered quarantine activities," a city spokesman said.
A total of 4,266 sect members in Daegu tested positive for coronavirus, accounting for 62 percent of all cases in the city.
Earlier, Daegu city officials won a court order to freeze the assets of Lee, regional leaders as well as the organization as a whole in the southeastern city. But Shincheonji claimed that some rogue members were responsible for causing the damage and the sect is also a victim.
The church is notoriously secretive but believes nothing very startling by the standards of Korea's many crackpot sects, chiefly that Lee (88) is the Second Coming.
Meanwhile, sect members in Daegu decided to donate the blood plasmas of those who have recovered from coronavirus to help develop treatment drugs. Some 4,000 of them have been declared cured so far.
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