Raids fail to find cult chemicals

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 July, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 July, 1996, 12:00am

Fire officers twice raided a New Territories-based doomsday cult yesterday to check on a suspected store of dangerous chemicals, but left empty-handed.

The South China Morning Post revealed on Tuesday that the Church of Zion was keeping highly combustible hydrogen peroxide at its Fanling Wai base.

Assistant divisional officer Chong Ho-ming said they were concerned about the safety of villagers living near the cult.

'Hydrogen peroxide can spread fire rapidly. Given that houses in the village are built close together, the situation is not desirable,' he said.

About 40 Church of Zion followers live in the village. Their leader, the Reverend Leung Yat-wah, encourages them to drink hydrogen peroxide, claiming it cures anything from minor ailments to killer diseases.

Independent tests commissioned by the Post on the chemical revealed it was more concentrated than considered safe for home storage. Mr Chong said it could only be kept in approved dangerous goods stores.

Early yesterday, his officers raided the cult's base, but failed to find any of the chemical. They also left empty-handed after another raid last night.