Five cult members charged with killing woman in McDonald's restaurant

The five approached the victim about joining their church in Shandong, and she refused to give them her mobile phone number

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 July, 2014, 12:55pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 July, 2014, 1:03pm

Five members of a religious cult have been indicted by Shandong prosecutors on charges of intentional homicide after a 35-year-old woman was beaten to death for refusing to give out her mobile phone number.

The people charged, all members of the banned cult the Church of Almighty God, are alleged to have brutally killed Wu Shuoyan after they asked for her number at a McDonald’s restaurant in Zhaoyuan on May 28, Xinhua reported, quoting the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. They were trying to recruit her for the church.

Local police arrested six people at the scene. Three were adults from the same family, along with a 12-year-old son. But as he has not reached the age of criminal responsibility, he will be dealt with separately, Zhaoyuan police said. Two other adults were also charged.

Three of the defendants were also charged with “organising and using a cult to undermine law enforcement”, for repeatedly organising cult gatherings, circulating cult information and recruiting followers using the internet, the prosecutors said.

The case prompted a tougher crackdown against religious cults in the country. Hundreds of followers of the Church of Almighty God have been detained since last month, including 113 from Liaoning province. Dozens have already been sentenced, mainland media reports.

In another crackdown, police raided nine dens and detained 38 people for printing slogans for Falun Gong – another banned spiritual group – on renminbi notes since April, Wuhan police announced yesterday, the news web reports.

The case in Zhaoyuan also sparked a public outrage after surveillance video and photos were leaked online showing that onlookers and restaurant workers did not intervene when Wu was brutally beaten with chairs and a metal mop.

In an interview with China Central Television, one of the defendants said he decided to beat the victim up because “she’s demonic and evil” and all he “wanted to do was to kill her”.

Followers of the Church of Almighty God, also known as Eastern Enlightenment, believe Jesus Christ was reincarnated as a woman from Henan.