The city of Seoul seeks murder charges against the founder of the virus sect

SEOUL: The Seoul city government requested charges, including murder, against the founder of a secret religious sect for not cooperating to contain the spread of the mortal.

South Korea has seen an increase in the number of infections, adding more than 4,000 cases in less than two weeks, with about 60 percent of the national total linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

As officials attempt to track and evaluate more than 266,000 people associated with Shincheonji, the entity has been accused of submitting false lists to authorities.

the Seoul city El gobierno dijo que había presentado una queja legal a the fiscales contra 12 líderes de la secta, incluido su fundador, Lee Man-hee, acusándolos de homicidio, causando daños y violando la Ley de Control y Enfermedades Infecciosas.

They did not take any measures to encourage their members to actively cooperate with health authorities to prevent further spread of COVID-19, city officials said in a statement.

El alcalde de Seúl, Park Won-soon, agregó en su página de Facebook: Si hubieran tomado activamente medidas iniciales, podríamos haber evitado el aumento explosivo de the casos de COVID-19 en Daegu y la provincia de Gyeongbuk del Norte y la muerte de varias personas.

Under South Korean law prosecutors can make their own decision on whether to act on complaints filed to them, and Yonhap news agency reported that the Seoul city request had been assigned for investigation.

Shincheonji declined to comment, saying: " the most important thing for us now is disinfecting and our highest priority is to end the COVID-19 outbreak soon."

the outbreak among Shincheonji members began with a 61-year-old woman, who developed a fever on February 10 but attended at least four church services in Daegu -- the country's fourth-largest city and epicentre of its outbreak -- before being diagnosed.

the organisation has apologised on behalf of its members who have not answered survey calls but has insisted that it has been fully cooperating with the government to contain the virus.

Shincheonji, founded in 1984, proclaims that Lee has put on the mantle of Jesus Christ and he will take 144,000 people with him to heaven on the day of judgment.

But with more church members than places available in heaven, they are said to have to compete for spaces and chase converts.