Makoto Hirata, a senior member of doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo and one of three remaining fugitives from the group, has turned himself in
to police after more than sixteen years on the run, leading to questions about the timing
of his surrender now, after all these years.
While Aum is best known as the group responsible for the deadly sarin-gas attack
on Tokyo's subway system that killed 13 people and injured more than 6000, Hirata is wanted on suspicion of taking part in a different crime, the kidnapping and murder of Kiyoshi Kariya
, the brother of an ex-Aum member who had left the group.
Despite the fact that police stations and koban (police boxes) throughout Japan have prominently displayed wanted posters
of the three Aum Shinrikyo fugitives for the past 16 years, Hirata had remained at large and hadn't had plastic surgery, leading to police speculation that he must have been helped
by others while on the run.
posted by Umami Dearest
on Jan 1, 2012 -
was a village in the Yamanashi Prefecture
in Japan that gained unwanted international attention in 1995 as a key location for Aum Shinrikyo
, the religious cult behind a number of acts of violence, including the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. To change the nature of attention given to the picturesque village, a new attraction was built on the former site of the cult complex: Gulliver's Kingdom
, a mixed up theme park
with a Scandinavian town, a petting zoo, a French puppet theater to tell the story of Gulliver, and a 45 meter version of Gulliver himself, pinned to the ground
. The park was opened in 1997, but Niigata Chuo Bank was facing serious problems two years later
, collapsing "under the weight of nonperforming loans." The theme park's owners were the largest borrowers from the bank, and the park closed in 2001
. The park was finally purchased in 2002
in the 3rd auction attempt. In 2006, Kamikuishiki disappeared
, divided and the parts merged into neighboring municipalities. The next year, Gulliver's Kingdom was demolished
, leaving behind photos
(new and old
), and memories
posted by filthy light thief
on Jun 6, 2011 -
A 15-year-old in London is being prosecuted
for holding a sign
calling Scientology a "cult", during a peaceful demonstration (0:55-1:40)
. The teenager refused to back down, quoting a 1984 high court ruling from Mr Justice Latey, in which he described the Church of Scientology as a "cult" ... The City of London police came under fire two years ago when it emerged that more than 20 officers, ranging from constable to chief superintendent, had accepted gifts worth thousands of pounds from the Church of Scientology. The City of London Chief Superintendent, Kevin Hurley, praised Scientology for "raising the spiritual wealth of society" during the opening of its headquarters in 2006. Last year a video praising Scientology emerged featuring Ken Stewart, another of the City of London's chief superintendents via
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94
on May 21, 2008 -
The Panacea Society
is a small group in England that has existed since the 1920s, waiting for Jesus to return to Earth and move into the house they've set up for him in Bedford - the new Jerusalem. Built on the prophecies of Octavia, a vicar's widow obsessed with the prophecies of 18th/19th century English prophetess Joana Southcott
, the Panaceans are the keepers of a box of prophecies left by Joanna. "War, disease, crime and banditry will increase until the Bishops open Joanna Southcott's box
" is still being placed in newspapers on their behalf as they send out linen squares, breathed upon by Octavia before her death, that will, if placed in jugs of water, will heal and protect. Harmless neighborhood church group
or money-grubbing cult
? As they receive more attention (including a documentary
shown on Channel 4) and their members slowly die off, it'll be interesting to see what happens...
posted by Katemonkey
on Aug 16, 2003 -
Even the bad guys
have PR sites these days. From the cuddly looks of this buddhist sect leader, you'd never have assumed he was responsible for the only large-scale act of terrorism in Japan in recent memory (the Tokyo subway Sarin gassing).
posted by Neb
on Jan 16, 2001 -
Does "Battlefield Earth" make anyone else nervous?
The film has a deep connection to the church of Scientology - an organization that has seen a certain amount of controversy (though I don't wish to belittle the belief system of anyone). This connection seems to have gone unnoticed. Is there cause for concern when a heavily marketed film is surreptiously tied to an organized religion?
posted by aladfar
on May 11, 2000 -
'Is the glass half empty of half full? That all depends upon who is looking at it. The case is similar with the Bible. For thousands of years man has been putting his own spin on Religion and the Scriptures and now so can you. Simply select the beliefs that are most advantageous to you and ‘The Cult Construction Set
’ will generate actual Bible scriptures to support these beliefs. Now you too can start your own Cult in the comfort of your home!'
posted by tdecius
on Nov 13, 1999 -