A SOUTH Korean Christian pastor and his wife, who clung to the Biblical proverb that reads “Do not withhold discipline from a child”, are in custody following the death of three of their children.
Named only as Park and Cho, the couple reportedly confessed to beating their three young children to death with a belt and a fly-swatter in an attempt to rid them of illness and demonic possession.
A police statement said the children, aged five, eight and 10, were found with their heads shaved and their parents kneeling beside them in a house established as the Hyungjae (Brother) Church by Park, 43. He and his wife, Cho, 34, were found in Boseong, a village in the south, last Saturday.
A police official at Boseong said:
The exact cause of the death has not been established yet, but we suspect the children passed out due to shock during the time they had been locked up and hit by their parents as they had weak immunity due to sickness.
South Korean media reports said the “pastor” and his wife had a congregation of 10 followers and said they had locked up their children – two sons and a daughter – on January 24 after they came down with colds.
Police said the man and woman shaved the children’s heads because they believed it would force evil spirits out of them. They also beat each child with a belt and fly-swatter 39 times in the morning and 39 times in the evening. The children – who had been starved too – had their hands bound.
According to police, the pastor said he was “following scripture” when he confessed to killing the children.
The couple told police they believed that had fallen ill as a result of being invaded by evil spirits after eating too much on Lunar New Year.
All three died on February 2, the first around 2 am, the second at 5 am and the third at 7 am.
The bodies were found nine days later by Park’s brother-in-law. Police said the couple was praying in the hope of resurrecting the children. Their 8-month-old daughter who survived has been taken into care, police said.
Hat tip: Leo Igwe