5 Aug 2019

Grace Road unlikely to end in Fiji any time soon - expert

12:46 pm on 5 August 2019

The jailing of a South Korean cult leader for imprisoning hundreds of followers in Fiji is unlikely to end their plight.

Grace Road Church's rice plantation in Navua, south of Suva. The plantation is said to be in preparation for the armageddon.

Grace Road Church's rice plantation in Navua, south of Suva. The plantation is said to be in preparation for the armageddon. Photo: Grace Road Group

The leader of Grace Road Church, Shin Ok-ju, was jailed for six years last week.

To her followers, Fiji was the promised land, and hundreds moved to endure ritual beatings and forced labour at Grace Road's network of businesses in Fiji.

An expert in Korean cults, Ji-il Tark from Busan University, said those businesses had extensive links with the Fiji government.

He said with the group ostracised in South Korea, the remaining followers will likely be keen to stay in Fiji.

"The Grace Road Church seems to have strong supporters and connections in the Fijian government. They also have a place to stay and businesses, they may think that Fiji is, indeed, the promised and safe land."

Shin Ok-ju, the founder of Grace Road Church, has been arrested in South Korea, accused of enslaving some 400 followers in Fiji.

Shin Ok-ju, the founder of Grace Road Church, has been arrested in South Korea, accused of enslaving some 400 followers in Fiji. Photo: Grace Road Church