[Issue Track] Death of a Korean Woman in her 20s Due To Coercive Conversion of Religion
[Issue Track] Death of a Korean Woman in her 20s Due To Coercive Conversion of Religion
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Death of a Korean Woman in her 20s who has been Appealing for
“Family Breakdown Due To Coercive Conversion” … ‘Controversy’ based on the Background of Death


Victim, Already suffered identical experience of coercive conversion education for 44 days
Victim, Formal Petition Submitted to the President before her death
“Coercive Conversion of Religion is evidently a violation of constitution, Desperate needs for countermeasure”


[Cheonji-ilbo(H.E. Times)=Song Tae-Bok, Hwang Si-Yeon, Lee Mi-Ae] Controversy arose on the background of a woman’s death in her 20s, who has been appealing for ‘family breakdown due to coercive conversion’.

The Police Department of Hwasun at Jeollanam-do has disclosed on 18ththat a husband and wife (aged 56 years and 55 years respectively) are being investigated for a charge of killing their own daughter (aged 25 years old) during the process of holding backthe daughter who attempted to escape from confinement.

They are being charged for murder after having bound and gagged the daughter, who attempted to escape from a pension in Hwasun in the midst of a dispute regarding religion, at around 5:40pm on Dec 30, 2017.

The Police has disclosed during the call with Cheonji Newspaper that the cause of death “cannot exclude the possibility of suffocation” and that “a high possibility of cardiopulmonary arrest due to hypoxic hypoxia after conducting an autopsy”. As a result of this, the Police is “investigating the husband and wife accordingly”.

◆ Background of Death that relates to Pastors of Counseling Center of Cult Religion

A big question is on the surfacethough as it appears that the victim actually has submitted a formal appeal to the President of Republic of Korea herself in June 2017 before her death in request for “legislating a new law that discriminates against religions” as well as for “shutdown of counseling center of cult religion, and legal punishment of coercive conversion education pastors” by backing for such request that her “happy family has eroded as a result of coercive conversion education”. Hence, a big question whether the essence of her death is ultimately due to ‘coercive conversion’.
According to the formal appeal of deceased, she has been forced to convert during a confinement for 44 days in 2016 at a Catholic Abbey, and ultimately has suffered to death despite concerns of recurrence.

In the meantime, other question arises regarding a pension where the daughter was confined.The Cheonji Newspaper has found that the windows in the rooms were all locked as they were all nailed, making it a perfect location for confinement – not to forget that this place is so well secluded that no other people outside would be aware for the screaming for help of rescue.

An actual nailing on the windows at a pension so that no one could escape. ⓒ천지일보(뉴스천지)

An actual nailing on the windows at a pension so that no one could escape. ⓒ천지일보(뉴스천지)


A woman (alias: D – aged 25 years old), who was delegated as the guardian of the victim, asserts that “It seems that the deceased was kidnapped to the pension by her parents after such plot was meticulously implemented out with the authorities of counseling center of cult” and that “This abduct was to re-attempt for coercive conversion of religion after the unsuccessful first attempt that lasted for 44 days”. And further added that “When she realized this was not a family vacation, but a second attempt for coercive conversion, she tried for an escape, only to have her murdered on this occasion.” D also shared that the “Victims of coercive conversion generally all suffer constant kidnappings for another coercive education until they are really converted”, and further mentioned that “Those authorities of counseling center of cult, who are blinded for money and greed, instigate the family of the victims”.

D then emphasized that “Coercive conversion is evidently a violation of the most basic constitution, and that a desperate countermeasure is in necessity.”She also pointed an importance for a rigorous investigation that “There are clear signs of the authorities in counseling center of cult involved in this particular case, and in order to find the truth of their involvement, it is imperative to investigate these authorities rigorously who are hiding behind the family of the victim as a legal shelter.”

The ‘Coercive Education’ that D indicated is a coercion to convert one’s religion which is driven by ‘Counseling Center of Cult’. The Counseling Center of Cult Korea is established nationwide under the leadership of Pastor Yong-Shik Jin, who was convicted crime for similar acts of coercive conversion activities by helping a victim (World Mission Society Church of God) for an involuntary admission to a mental hospital– a big controversy as it was confirmed during the investigation that he has earned a profit of more than a million dollars.Continued oppression of human rights is not stopping these counseling center of cult to increase its controversial activities, and proportionally the numbers of victims increase dramatically.

As the coercive conversion education completely violates the ‘Freedom of Religion’ as per the constitution, such illegal activities primarily occur at isolated locations where seeking for rescueis not possible at all. In 2007 a husband has actually murdered his wife – who enrolled at Shincheonji Church of Jesus – for refusing to attend coercive conversion education.

◆Full Account of the Accident from Missing to Death

According to D, who has reported missing of the victim on January 3, 2018, she has shared with the newspaper that the deceased has sent a text message to her church members in December 29 previous year that ‘I won’t be able to attend the evening meeting as I have to spend time with my family. Ever since, she has been missing from the 30th and onwards. D has revealed that the victim was always “Deeply afraid of being forced to be taken for coercive conversion religion education” and that “D was elected to be a guardian in case there was any potential issue to the victim”.

An actual text message that the victim has sent to one of her church members in December 29, 2017. She has been missing ever since. ⓒ천지일보(뉴스천지)
An actual text message that the victim has sent to one of her church members in December 29, 2017. She has been missing ever since. ⓒ천지일보(뉴스천지)

An initial criminal investigation was conducted at the pension by the 119 Rescue Center on Dec 30th at around 5:40pm upon the victim’s father reported. The captain of police substation who was present at the site of crime has stated to the newspaper that “We have reported this case as a mere physical assault since this was an internal conflict amongst family members”. The jurisdiction of control has been handed over to the district police station.


The victim was quickly sent over to the nearest hospital, only to be confirmed brain dead and that she would soon have a number of days to live. She was taken to a few hospitals here and there, and after 10 days of such incident, she was declared dead at a hospital on the 9th of January, 2018.

One of the police officer,who was present at the examination of the scene on December 30th as well as at the autopsy, has stated to the newspaper that “The thigh of the corpse has a clear bruise mark identified, and thus, we are waiting for the result of autopsy” Both the victim’s parents and sister, who were present at the crime scene, are currently under investigation in state of no restraint.

◆Submitted Formal Petition for ‘Punishment of Coercive Conversion Pastors’ In Her Living Years

The Cheonji Newspaper was able to findduring the process of covering all the information, and confirm that the victim has actually composed herself and submitted a formal appeal to the President of Republic of Korea for “Shutdown of counseling center of cult religion, and legal punishment of coercive conversion education pastors”.

According to the national appeal, the victim was confirmed for 44 days in a catholic abbey at a city Jangseong from July to September of 2016. She was a member of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, and was forced to convert her religion with such education. Several high-official authorities from the Counseling Center of Cult Korea have visited the abbey to conduct conversion education, and the victim had to endure a long 8-hours of relay time in hearing constant pressure to convert whilst being confined at the same time.
According to the victim’s petition, “The Head of Counseling Center of Cult Korea has ordered her sister to quit her job at a primary school so that she can solely commit in surveillance of the deceased, whereas the mother was also asked to quit her social welfare work likewise to have a close watch at her daughter. This has resulted in complete mistrust amongst family members, which ultimately led to the worst situation for the entire family.” She concluded with an earnest request appeal for “Closure of counseling center of cult religion, and legal punishment of coercive conversion education pastors as well as for the legislation of a new law that discriminates against religions.”

The victim added one last note that “It has been revealed that there are over a thousand young people in this illegal kidnapping for coercive conversion education and confinement which are violate the basic human rights apart from myself.” However, there was no tangible measures taken despite the serious warnings shared by the victim for the urge to take the relevant steps.

An actual petition appealing for “Closure of Counseling Center of Cult Religion ‧ Punishment of Coercive Conversion Education Pastors” in June 4, 2017 by the Deceased. This detail is accurate and is extremely reader-friendly in format. ⓒ천지일보(뉴스천지)

An actual petition appealing for “Closure of Counseling Center of Cult Religion ‧ Punishment of Coercive Conversion Education Pastors” in June 4, 2017 by the Deceased. This detail is accurate and is extremely reader-friendly in format. ⓒ천지일보(뉴스천지)


◆ Confinement at an abbey approximately for 40 days, The Pastor in a Counseling Center of Cult gets Involved

The Cheonji Newspaper was able to identify and confirm that the deceased was an identical person who has attended an interview in October of 2016 “I am a member of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, Confined at a Catholic Abbey approximately for 40 days and been forced to attend coercive conversion religion education.”

During her interview back then, she has exposed that “I’ve been forced to attend coercive conversion religion educationin July of 2016 for approximately of 40 days without knowing the reasons why at a city Jangseong.”

Upon her arrival from the abbey in September, she has been told by a mother superior that “she has done a great job”, and hence felt it was extremely strange as “The Abbey would only allow outside visitors to stay for a maximum of 3 days, instead of the 2 months.” Further questioning that “It would very likely be that such illegal coercive conversion religion education was pre-arranged between the Counseling Center of Cult Korea and the Abbey in agreement”.

The victim has learned of this plot by chance when she accidentally found the letter of her mother, which had details written of the coercive conversion religion education was initially arranged by the Counseling Center of Cult at Gwangju – and that it was related to ‘Association of the Victim Family to Shincheonji’. The victim was thus able to confirm of the background of such plot to be driven and motivated by Counseling Center of Cult Korea.

In addition, “During the coercive conversion religion education in August 2016, one of the authorities of Counseling Center of Cult has pressured the Victim to abandon Shincheonji Church of Jesus” so that she could attend the church that these pastors were part of in.

The deceased had a serious aftereffects from thecoercive conversion religion education, and was suffering from constant fear of re-occurrence of such illegal kidnappings and confinement. Although she was “Able to escape from the Abbey, I am no longer available to be together with my loved ones due to the concern that I really could be kidnapped.” And appealed that “It virtually is impossible to have a proper meal or sleep due to the serious aftereffects.”

The Victim also suffers pain as she shares “I’m in a constant fear even in the middle of daytime since I’m afraid that I could be abducted to a car out of a sudden” and that “Everyday life is not possible anymore with such horror-like times are being spent on a daily basis.”
She has done the best to help stop from having another victim by formally composing and submitting an appeal to the President of Republic of Korea even amidst of such pain via a petition “Please help the innocents by legislating a new law that discriminates against religions. And also to close downthe counseling center of cult religion, and to legallypunish those of coercive conversion education pastorsaccordingly.”This regrettable appeal has now resulted in as a will.

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