Korean Doomsday Cult Promising Deliverance in Saigon
Article from: Tuoi Tre
A Korean-origin doomsday cult claims to have won over adherents in Ho Chi Minh City who are now awaiting the end of the world and, with its assistance, will go to Heaven.
Last Thursday Tuoi Tre met Le, one of the sect members, and asked about joining the group which is now managed by Vietnamese.
“We have centers all over Saigon to guide people and propagate news,” she said.
“However, not everyone can join. Many have sold their lands and houses to listen to our teachings.”
She took us to Huong Duong music school on Phan Dang Luu Street, Phu Nhuan District, where several motorbikes were parked. Inside, on the second and third floors, many people were sitting and listening to a lecture.
Le tried her best sales pitch: “You are a good person. If you join our group, you will be blessed and do not need to work much.”
After showing us around, Le insisted that we joined the cult. She and a man took us to a toilet, handing us pajamas.
“Take off your clothes quickly for the ritual, it will take only 10 minutes,” she said.
When we demanded to know what the ritual was about, she said we would understand it later.
“We will pour water upon your head, and you will eat and drink something that represent flesh and blood.”
We refused and Le grabbed our arms and began to rant: “We have chosen you but you don’t want to join. You will be possessed by Satan. You will be run over by cars.”
On Tuesday we contacted Le again with a “new member” and asked for more information about her cult.
We met in Phu Nhuan Park where she forced us to eat some tasteless bread and drink water before she agreed to talk to us again.
She urged us again to join the ceremony because it was a good time, saying: “I myself have been hit several times by cars but I am still alive. My injuries heal quickly; it is quite mysterious.”
“Devils are haunting you. You have to join the ceremony right away. May be you will not live until tomorrow.”
Le said that many people paid a membership fee of 10 percent of their income to secure a place in Heaven after the end of the world.
“The sect will bless you. Like me, I don’t work but still have money to spend.”
From sources Tuoi Tre discovered that Le is 57 and used to be a trader in District 3. In 2004 she rented a house in Hoc Mon District and became a cook.
In her current job of getting people to join the sect, she persuades them to sell their possessions to pay the membership fee.
Many students apparently play truant at school to come and listen to the teachings.
“My daughter listened to them and joined their ceremony,” S., a beverage seller in Phu Nhuan, said.
“They said we don’t need to work hard, just listen to their sermons, and money will come.”
L.T.K of Hoc Mon District recalled being taken by Le and another man to a toilet where she poured water on his head and chanted something.
“They said nonsensical things. Those who believe have to quit school and jobs. This is troublesome,” he said.
Ngo Giang Hoang Han, deputy head of the Ward 7 people’s committee in Phu Nhuan, said Huong Duong music school was licensed by the Department of Planning and Investment and local authorities had not been aware of the sect’s activities or heard anything from locals.
Han promises an investigation.
Nguyen Hoang Giang, deputy head of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Religious Affairs, said the school did not have approval for religious activities.
Giang said he had never seen any religion scaring people with doomsday predictions.
“Legal religions in Vietnam encourage love for the country, helping others, and building a better society,” he said.
My son is a victim of Armageddon scam