Police arrested nearly 1,000 suspected members of the (Almighty God) cult for various crimes including murder, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a statement from the Ministry of Public Security.
The suspects were arrested in a crackdown that started in June in connections with more than 500 cases, the ministry said. They included “high-level organizers and backbone members”, it said.
Five members of the cult have been charged with intentional homicide for the killing of a woman at a McDonald’s outlet in eastern China’s Shandong province on May 28, when she refused to give her telephone number to the cultists who were trying to recruit more members.
The five will stand trial on Aug. 21 at Yantai Intermediate People’s Court in Shandong, according to the news agency.
“Quannengshen cheats people, illegally collects money and violates the law under the guise of religion,” the ministry said in the statement. “A series of acts by its members have harmed people’s lives and property and disrupted social stability.”
Founded in the 1990s in central China’s Henan province, Quannengshen claims that Jesus has been resurrected as Yang Xiangbin, wife of the group’s founder Zhao Weishan. The couple fled to the United States in September 2000.
Prior to the case, members of the cult were responsible for numerous suicides and murders, in which many victims were their own family members, the report said.
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