Chinese cult leader faces criminal prosecution

Updated: 2015-07-16 07:13


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Chinese cult leader faces criminal prosecution

File photo of Wu Zeheng.

GUANGZHOU - Wu Zeheng, founder and leader of the cult "Huazang Zongmen", is facing criminal prosecution along with several other suspected cult members, following year-long investigations by police in south China's Guangdong Province, it was announced late on Wednesday.

Local procuratorate of the coastal city of Zhuhai in Guangdong has instituted the prosecution for organizing and using cult to sabotage law enforcement, alleged rape, fraud, and production and sale of harmful food.

Wu, born in 1967, got his first police record for sexual assault at an early age and was later put in detention in 1991 for fraud and rascality. In 2000, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for illegal fund-raising and unlawful business operations.

Upon release from prison in 2010, Wu began to propagate the pseudo religion "Huazang Zongmen" as a lofty sect of Buddhism and claimed to be the successor of several eminent monks. Glorified with fabricated educational background and life experience, Wu eventually became a master with supernatural power in the eyes of his followers.

Among many glamorous titles, Wu claimed he held a PhD of Cambridge University. But investigations at his hometown in Guangdong's Huilai County revealed that he dropped out from a local junior high school.

In the name of charity and life science and through inflammatory preaching, Wu lured a growing number of believers who wished to study Buddhism, seek disease treatment, or ward off ill fortune by joining the cult, according to the police involved in the investigation.

"When we arrested Wu in his locked bedroom last July, he was with a young woman in pajamas," said a police officer, who also seized philters, luxurious liquors, cigarettes, watches, jewelries and cash in his 200-square-meter apartment in Zhuhai.

Several female followers believed "practicing" with Wu in bed could help themselves "gain supernatural power," an excuse Wu used to seduce or coerce dozens of women, including two pairs of sisters and several minors, to have sex with him.

A follower surnamed Wang said she had been raped frequently. She got pregnant three times and was forced to have abortions. Some of the raped followers became barren.

Police said Wu had six children born in wedlock and at least another six born out of wedlock.

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