Japan Cops Probe Doomsday Cult

Associated Press/May 25, 1999

TOKYO (AP) -- Police searched four facilities Tuesday linked to the doomsday cult accused in a 1995 gas attack on Tokyo subways, seizing nearly 100 items.

The raids were reportedly prompted by suspicions a former cult member submitted false documentation to register a business as a way of hiding its ties to the Aum Shinri Kyo religious cult.

A 25-year-old former cult member allegedly used false names for executives in paperwork submitted to a Justice Ministry registration office last September, a police spokesman said.

Police declined to identify the former cult member by name.

The police spokesman, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said 97 items were seized in the searches, but declined to specify them.

Police targeted a Tokyo computer shop and three other facilities in the western city of Osaka, Kyodo News agency reported.

Japan's Public Security Investigation Agency says the cult has moved to rebuild itself by setting up 28 branch offices and operating four companies and two outlets to sell personal computers.

Sect guru Shoko Asahara is on trial for murder stemming from the March 20, 1995, gas attack in the Tokyo subways. The attack killed 12 people.

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