By Anish Chand in Lautoka
The High Court in Lautoka yesterday issued orders to the Fiji police and the Immigration Department not to remove four members of the controversial South Korean religious cult Grace Road from Fiji.
They are Beomseop Shin, Byeongjoon Lee, Jung “Daniel” Yong Kim and Jinsook Yoon.
The interim injunction was issued restraining the Director of Immigration, Commissioner of Police, Airports Fiji Ltd, Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji, Fiji Airways and Air Terminal Services from removing these individuals from Fiji.
The High Court has adjourned the case to September 18 at 9am for hearing.
The restraining order was obtained by Gordon and Company of Lautoka.
Earlier, Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua had called on members of the public to reach out to the authorities if they had information on the whereabouts of Grace Road president “Daniel” Jung Yong Kim and Jin Sook Yoon, reports The Fiji Times’ Meri Radinibaravi.
An International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) red notice was issued for Kim, Yoon and five other South Korean individuals in July 2018, which Tikoduadua said had been “ignored by the former government”.
The seven individuals are Kim, Yoon, acting Grace Road president Sung Jin Lee, Nam Suk Choi, Byeong Joon Lee, Beomseop Shin and Chul Na.
“In July 2018, red notices were published by Interpol referring to these individuals as ‘fugitives wanted for prosecution’. All of these were ignored by the former government,” Tikoduadua told the media yesterday.
“Using my discretion as minister, under Section 13(2)(g) of the Immigration Act, these individuals were declared prohibited immigrants — making their presence in Fiji unlawful.
“In that regard, may I just use this opportunity to reach out to these other two who, in my view perhaps, are trying not to be seen or noticed by anybody.
“We’re unable to reach them, the police obviously, and the relevant authorities are looking for them. Let me remind the general public that it is an offence to actually harbour people who are wanted, it’s against the law to do that.
“So, please, we welcome information with regard to their location as they are prohibited immigrants in Fiji.”
Tikoduadua said that while Kim and Yoon were still at large, Joon Lee and Shin had been successfully transported back to Korea, accompanied by a South Korean Embassy interpreter and four Fiji police personnel who “will return to Fiji after a brief stay in South Korea”.
“These individuals’ passports were nullified by the Korean government in relation to charges laid by the South Korean government which had issued a warrant for their arrest.
“During the removal process, Fiji Airways declined to transport Sung Jin Lee and Nam Suk Choi due to a High Court order. The Solicitor-General (Ropate Green) has received this court order for review.
“Ms Lee and Ms Choi have been released and are currently at the Grace Road farm in Navua.
“Additionally, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration is exploring legal options under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1997 and the Extradition Act 2003, given that these individuals are subject to an Interpol red notice.”
Tikoduadua said that yesterday, Green had indicated plans to appeal the court order.
Anish Chand is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.
Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz