Kin of Man in Cult Suit Abducted

The Associated Press, August 25, 1999

TOKYO (AP) - The daughter of a man suing the cult blamed for a deadly 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subways was briefly kidnapped by a man who warned her to make her father drop the suit, police said Wednesday.

The abductor grabbed the woman, whose name has not been released, in Chiba, outside Tokyo, on Tuesday morning and let her go uninjured about 12 hours later in the central city of Nagoya, police said.

The woman, a 19-year-old college student, is the sister of one of the victims of a 1994 nerve gas attack in central Japan that has also been blamed on the Aum Shinri Kyo cult.

The woman's father, Kazuyoshi Abe, is a plaintiff in a suit demanding compensation from Aum Shinri Kyo for the 1994 attack in Matsumoto, which killed seven people.

The abductor urged the woman to persuade her father to drop his lawsuit and taunted her that she could die at the same age as her brother, who was killed at 19, police spokesman Minoru Itakura said. No arrests had been made.

The cult is blamed for a series of crimes, including the March 1995 attack on the Tokyo subway that killed 12 and injured thousands. The cult's guru, Shoko Asahara, is on trial for murder.

Hundreds of cult members were arrested and the group went bankrupt, but the cult has been recruiting members again and is raising money through computer sales.

The Asahi newspaper reported Wednesday that Abe, 57, received a phone call in June from a man who identified himself as an Aum member and demanded that he withdraw from the suit.

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