Peroxide warning hit headlines in 1996

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 12:00am

The controversial Church of Zion was last in the news in 1996, when some of its members complained of falling ill after following the advice of its leader and drinking hydrogen peroxide.

The Reverend Leung Yat-wah admitted telling followers that hydrogen peroxide was a powerful tonic that could improve health and strength. But he claimed users who fell ill had failed to follow his instructions properly.

The church's belief in the curative powers of hydrogen peroxide was criticised at the time by mainstream Christian churches. The police launched an investigation into the cult, but no action was taken.

The Hong Kong Church of Zion was set up in 1985 by the cult's Vancouver headquarters, which ordained Mr Leung in 1991. But the Canadian branch says it does not urge followers to drink hydrogen peroxide.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post in 1996, the Reverend Gideon Chiu, of the Church of Zion in Vancouver, said Mr Leung and the Hong Kong branch had severed ties with Vancouver in 1995.

The Health Department says hydrogen peroxide, which is used to sterilise wounds and for external use only, is harmful if consumed.