Four bodies found at South Korean religious sect

Reuters/May 16, 2003

Seoul -- South Korean police said on Friday they had found four dead bodies at a compound run by a religious sect north of the capital Seoul, possibly murdered as part of a reincarnation ritual.

The religious affiliation of the sect and details of its membership were not immediately known, police said.

"We discovered four bodies inside the compound who appear to have been murdered," said an official at the police station in Shinseo, a town about 30 km (20 miles) north of Seoul and close to the border with North Korea.

"We believe they were killed as part of a religious rite for their rebirth," he said. "We cannot rule out the discovery of more bodies," he said, adding that an investigation was under way.

In 1987, 32 members of a religious cult known as the "Five Oceans" were found dead in a country compound south of Seoul. Police concluded in 1991 that those deaths were the result of strangulation and suicide.

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