Cult told to shun outside world
The Church of Zion controls its followers by telling them to shun the outside world, a religious counsellor said yesterday.
The Reverend Ma Kwong-tung said the doctrine of cult leader the Reverend Leung Yat-wah was a danger to its mainly young members.
'The church blocks news from its believers and discourages them from keeping in touch with the external world, so it can control them,' Mr Ma of the Hong Kong Christian Short-Term Mission Training Centre said.
'They are taught that the church's leader has greater authority than any other voice in society and even the Bible,' he said.
'It makes its followers believe that society's opposition to the church's teachings is a kind of persecution.' Mr Ma said this month at least 10 young people had turned to him as their belief in the cult turned to fear and suspicion.
Doubts began when the cult's practice of drinking hydrogen peroxide made them ill. Symptoms included vomiting, diarrhoea and skin problems.
Members are told that all illness come from satan and believers are told not to seek medical help but to pray.
The cult preaches that the world will come to an end in 1999.
The group had been linked to a church by the same name in Vancouver but had severed links about two years ago. Elders at the church in Vancouver said they were very concerned at reports the congregation in Hong Kong had been told to drink hydrogen peroxide.