China extradites chief of alleged S. Korean rapist cult
February 21, 2008, 12:00 am TWN
SEOUL -- A cult leader accused of raping his female followers was extradited Wednesday from China to South Korea after spending nearly nine years on the run, pool reports said.
Jeong Myeong-Seok, escorted by South Korean officials, arrived at an airport west of Seoul after China approved his extradition.
Jeong, believed to be in his early sixties, set up a cult known by his initials of JMS (Jesus Morning Star) in the late 1980s.
He fled South Korea in 1999, one day after rape allegations against him were broadcast on national television. In 2001, South Korean authorities charged Jeong with rape.
Jeong was arrested in Hong Kong in 2003 on visa violations, and later fled an extradition hearing. He was detained by Chinese authorities in May last year on charges that he raped another South Korean follower in China. In December, China's Supreme People's Court upheld a lower court decision to extradite him.
Jeong 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 remove their sins. The girls said they were threatened with spiritual death if they spoke of what happened, according to previous media reports.
News reports said Jeong was still believed to command thousands of followers, including students, soldiers, teachers and children.