Korean pastor found guilty in New Zealand exorcism killing

Inside China Today/December 6, 2001

A Korean self-styled church minister has been found guilty of manslaughter in New Zealand after an "exorcism" in which one of his followers was strangled.

Luke Lee told Auckland High Court that the victim Joanna Lee, 37, who was not related to him, would come back to life by next week. She had failed to respond to resurrection prayers at the time of the killing in Auckland last December.

Luke Lee, 38, was convicted late on Wednesday following a jury trial, a court official told Reuters on Thursday.

Lee, who arrived in New Zealand from South Korea to study religion in 1994, was strong in his convictions, Detective Sergeant Jill Rogers told Radio New Zealand:

"Right to the end of the case he has maintained that Joanna was going to arrive back and be rejuvenated and resurrected -- he was very very committed in what he believed in.

"He's given us a date and believes (the resurrection) will happen before December 10."

The prosecution told the court that Lee, founder of the Lord of All's Church, engaged in an aggressive ritual that involved sitting and bouncing on the chest and abdomen of the victim to expel demons, before strangling her, local media said.

Lee said it was the devil who had killed the woman and said that prayer and incantations would revive her.

The victim's body turned black over six days after the killing. One follower of Lee's church lay on top of the decomposing body and blew into the woman's mouth in an attempt to revive her, the NZ Herald newspaper said.

Church followers were called to witness the expected resurrection. But one became concerned and alerted police.

Lee, who police said had convictions in South Korea, is to be sentenced on December 20.

Detective Sergeant Rogers said many of Lee's followers -- seven core members and a number of other followers -- had returned to Korea and the church was now defunct.

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