The Seoul Metropolitan Government has revoked its approval for the establishment of the New Heaven and New Earth, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, a division of Shincheonji Church of Jesus.
Mayor Park Won-soon said at a regular press briefing on the day, "we judged that (the corporation) violated the terms of the license and caused serious damage to the public interest," adding, "we notified Shinchunji of the hearing regarding the revocation of the license, but they did not attend or submit any vindicative documents."
"We have completed all necessary procedures for the cancellation," he said.
He went on to say, "they didn't abide by many of the regulations of the decree and the articles of association more than anything."
"In essence, however, there are other practical reasons why this corporation should be revoked," he said.
"The New Heaven and New Earth, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony are essentially the same organizations with Shincheonji Church of Jesus. The corporate representative is Lee Man-hee, and the purpose and business of the corporation stipulated in the articles of association are essentially the same as Shincheonji," he said.
It also said, "Shincheonji has seriously violated the lives and safety of the people. The Shincheonji interfered with the government's quarantine activities throughout the country and their concealment of fact caused the spread of COVID-19, adding that more than 5,000 of the 9,241 confirmed people in South Korea as of March 26. It is a huge number, more than 55 percent of the total. In Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, it is 70 percent," he said.
"If Lee Man-hee had issued guidelines in the early stages, the spread of the COVID-19 would have been prevented," Park said. "But the leadership of Shincheonji, including President Lee Man-hee, said, "on the surface, they actively cooperated with the government's quarantine activities and investigations, but in reality, they delayed and falsely submitted the list of believers and the facility status, causing a major confusion in quarantine activities."
"This led to the waste of huge costs and administrative power such as finding and shutting down additional camouflage facilities at a time when people were fighting to prevent local infections in advance," he said.
"They also gave orders to the congregation to present false information such as not to answer any calls from government officials conducting epidemiological investigations or to hide the fact that they are members of Shincheonji.
The act seriously harms the public interest because it interfered with rapid quarantine and preventive activities to protect the lives of the people, he said, adding that additional facts were also found that the corporation violated the terms of permission at the time of its establishment, such as failing to present any business results.
Still, Shincheonji said on March 25th that they would take legal action if the Seoul Metropolitan Government cancels its permission to set up a corporation. Park said he has neither apologized nor repented for his wrongdoings to the people who suffered immensely.
In addition, the Seoul government will not approve Shincheonji's application for any form of a corporation or nonprofit corporation, he added.