‘Sacrificial’ cult headed by ‘living Buddha’ who banned followers from washing – Today News

 This is the moment police raided a ‘sacrificial’ cult headed by a ‘living Buddha,’ who banned people from speaking or washing without permission  Police burst into the compound and rescued 19 people after one follower of the Zhonghua Rixing Yishang – China Daily Virtue – was allegedly killed in a sick ritual  , which had been sealed shut by a large red metal gate and surrounded by chain-linked fences  The cult has around 100 members – ranging from two to 80 – across either side of the Taiwan Strait    Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said followers were not allowed mobile phones and were beaten for speaking out of turn and attempting to run away  Investigators with the CID’s 5th investigative unit seized cult propaganda, various rods, plastic and wooden sticks, as well as metal pipes wrapped in cloth used to beat followers in exorcisms or so-called ‘soul purifying’ ceremonies  The unit’s lead investigator, Lai Ying-men, said the beatings were carried out or authorised by the ring leader herself, who was referred to as the ‘Holy Mother’ or ‘Living Buddha’    The raid on the compound came during a months-long investigation into the group – established by Lin in 2008 as a fusion of Eastern and Westerns religious teachings  Authorities became involved in March after family members of 20-year-old follower Ms Fang, from Taiwan’s western city of Taichung, reported that she had been beaten to death during a visit to mainland China with the matriarch  Lin allegedly ordered Ms Fang to be flogged during a purification ceremony in Nanning, capital of China’s southern Guangxi region, where she had hoped to open a new compound  She then fled back to Taiwan to avoid arrest by local authorities, the CIB, which is the bureau under the National Police Agency, said on September 25  .  All 19 followers rescued from the compound had been beaten for the purposes of exorcism, or for failing to follow the cult’s rules  Reasons for being flogged included using the Holy Mother’s name in vain, speaking without raising one’s hand, disrespecting Buddhist teachings, and even asking for a second helping of food  CID investigator Lai said: “According to the followers, the cult leader claimed they had been possessed by evil beings which needed to be driven out through these exorcism beatings  “No religion treats its followers this way.”  The Taichung District Court has ordered Lin to be remanded in custody and held incommunicado as investigations continue

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