A Fugitive Cult’s Dream Life in Fiji Threatens to Fall Apart

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SEOUL—Authorities in Fiji have smashed a South Korean cult that threatened to take over the South Pacific nation’s economy, arresting four of its leaders and sending two of them back to Korea.

The crackdown on the Grace Road Church shocked its 400 Korean and foreign adherents, who had moved to Fiji after being warned of an apocalypse about to annihilate South Korea. They submitted to regular thrashings, some of them caught on camera, in what their founder, a middle-aged woman named Shin Ok-su, claimed were needed to knock the devil out of them.

Shin was expelled back to Korea, arrested for child abuse, assault and false imprisonment, and sentenced to six years in prison in 2019, but the church survived until Fijian authorities this week rounded up church members in a drive to stamp out the influence of a cult that’s been madly buying up Fijian companies and property. The church, founded in South Korea in 2002, decided in 2014 that Fiji, an archipelago with a population of slightly less than 1 million people, was “the center of the world.”

Content retrieved from: https://www.thedailybeast.com/grace-road-churchs-dream-life-in-fiji-threatens-to-fall-apart.

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