Moonies case dismissed

Bangkok Post/February 20, 2003

The Criminal Court yesterday dismissed a decade-long case against nine people from a cult accused of undermining state security, embezzlement and illegal assembly.

In the name of the Unification Church, otherwise known as the Moonies, Lek Taweetermsakul and eight collaborators allegedly promoted an autonomous state in Thailand, raised funds for fake charity projects and illegal assemblies between January 1, 1985 and June 26, 1991.

However, the court found insufficient evidence to substantial a threat against national security. It found no evidence the Moonies had refused to pay back the membership fees of 41 members who had wanted to quit.

Part of a 7.1-million-baht fund raised from the sale of flowers, dolls and keychains had been donated to poor children and the rest was still in the cult's bank account. The embezzlement charge was dismissed. The illegal assembly charge was also thrown out after the court found the group had registered itself as an association and promoted itself openly in Siam Square.

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