Church under probe
16 August, 2018, 10:45 am
OFFICERS from the Korean National Police Agency are in the country to investigate Grace Road Church and its operations in Fiji.
The investigations are in relation to the alleged enslavement of about 400 followers of the church in the country.
The investigations surfaced when Grace Road Church founder Grace Ok-ju was arrested in Korea on allegations of incarceration, assault and money laundering.
Ms Ok-ju was arrested with three other members of the church when arriving at Incheon Airport in Seoul last month.
Immigration Department director Nemani Vuniwaqa confirmed that a raid was conducted at the church’s headquarters in Navua on Tuesday night where three senior followers of the church were questioned and detained.
Mr Vuniwaqa said the raid was conducted in collaboration with the Korean police, Immigration Department and the Fiji Police Force.
Mr Vuniwaqa said some more people, with the three arrested, were wanted by the Korean police for investigation.
He said the Korean police arrived in the country last week.
Mr Vuniwaqa said the three arrested were in police custody as investigations into the matter continued.
It is understood that police are looking for three other senior officials of the church. According to Korean authorities, when the church members arrived in Fiji, their passports were allegedly seized, some were forced to endure violent rituals and many were forced to work on a plantation or at several other church-run businesses.
Fiji police earlier confirmed that they were also conducting investigations into allegations made by the Korean authorities.
The group operates various restaurants, farms and food processing outlets around the country.