Vietnam lashes out vicious attacks against a Korean cult.
Within a couple of days, properties of the WMSCOG in Hà Nội, Sàigòn, and all provinces have been seized. Police have arrested and interrogated hundreds of its members.
State-run media outlets, the Committee for Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Education, and a large number of organizations affiliated with the communist party have poured out numerous of stories about victims of the “cult” who believed with complete conviction that the end of the world was imminent. Members who are students are told to drop out of school; and those, who are working, are expected to quit their jobs to be missionaries to recruit new members for the faction.
The sect has been accused of isolating its members from their families and friends and using brainwashing techniques.
In a report published on May 8, 2018, Pháp Luật, a state-owned newspaper, citing the National Committee for Religious Affairs said that the cult was first introduced into Vietnam in 2001. In 2005, it formed the first group in Sàigòn, and so far, has 600 followers.
In the North, the activities of this organization seemed to start in 2013 and began to flourish in 2016 in the provinces of Thái Nguyên, Bắc Kan and Hà Nội.
The Committee alleges church leaders tried micromanaging the life of its members demanding they spend hours in services or studying the Bible, inciting extreme behaviors such as disrespect for their parents, alienation of relatives, destruction of the family's ancestral altar or defamation of beliefs or religions of their relatives.
On May 7, 2018, Đời Sống Pháp Luật, another state media newspaper, went as far as reporting that police discover the cult demands its members to drink a “sacred liquid” to damage their mental ability, causing them to believe whatever they are told. This has been seen by many as a false accusation in a tactic frequently used by Vietnamese security forces.
Fr. Le Ngoc Thanh, a Redemptorist in Sàigòn, expresses his concern that the propaganda campaign against the WMSCOG was designed to create tensions between religious and non-religious. This may serve as a “preparation for public opinion” before the government seizes more religious facilities in “golden lands”.
The sect, whose headquarters are in Bundang, Sungnam City, Kyunggi Province, Korea, believes that Jang Gil-ja, a Korean woman is God the Mother, a female image of God. It also believes in Ahn Sahng-hong as Jesus Christ who already came the second time.
In a statement released on July 8, 2005, The National Council of Churches in Korea condemned the deification of Ahn Sahng-hong and Zahng Gil-jah and called WMSCOG a blasphemous, heretical cult.
Currently, the cult is reported to possess 450 churches in South Korea, and 6,000 churches abroad.