A controversial South Korean megachurch pastor was reportedly arrested last week and charged with foreign exchange exploitation, assault and confinement, specifically over accusations that she stranded 400 followers in Fiji and subjected them to ritual beatings years ago.
The Korean Embassy in Fiji told the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation that Ok Joo Shin of Grace Road Church has been arrested, and said that the investigation into the pastor’s activities are ongoing.
The accusations, which also led to the arrest of three other church leaders, date back to 2014, when Shin’s followers traveled to Fiji, based on her warnings that there would be a famine in Korea, according to The Guardian.
Around 400 of those worshipers had their passports taken away, according to the accusations against her, and were held by “guardians” selected by the pastor. They were forced to perform ritual beatings on each other in order to avoid punishment from God.
Grace Road Public Relations Manager Ana Choi told FBC News that the claims are false. She said that the Korean authorities have gone too far and called it ridiculous.
The church is said to operate several businesses in Fiji, from restaurants to hardware stores and a construction company, and has entered a number of government contracts.
A statement by Grace Road Group, founded by Shin, noted that “people have been making outrageous claims and spreading false information in the media.”
It said the company is “composed of Christians who see, hear, believe, and act by the Bible.”
“Under the motto of ‘Honesty, Sincerity, Diligence before God and men,’ we work every day to make Fiji the strongest nation in the world and to make the world where God is only God.
“You can see this vision and our commitment to it in our restaurants, products and services, achievements and above all in our people.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov