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Thomas Wynne: A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Saturday 16 September 2023 | Written by Thomas Tarurongo Wynne | Published in Editorials, Opinion


Thomas Wynne: A wolf in sheep’s clothing
Columnist Thomas Tarurongo Wynne. Photo: CI NEWS/16040843

We should not dismiss the fact that a South Korean religious cult, who have embedded themselves into the Fijian community and business sector are on the ground, speaking to people of influence and in the Cook Islands.

I remember meeting some of their representatives in 2019, and it’s clear, as they were looking for contacts to potentially embed themselves then, they are potentially looking to people of influence here in our beautiful paradise, to do it again.

Agriculture, farming equipment, promises of educational scholarships and business were their offers at the time and based on a quick search on Mr Google and Pacific news, it is clear they have grown their Church and empire in Fiji, despite the detention this week of their cult leader Daniel Kim.

Two of their leaders have been deported back to South Korea with two released on court injunction, and another two are on, including the leader are according to Fiji Times, on the run.

It would seem the former Fiji government had not taken heed to red notices and Interpol warnings of the group’s leaders and activities, and sometimes this happens when there is benefit to be made by key people linking with groups like these for benefit.

And why we must be so careful and discerning when those come with cap in hand, with offerings that seem too good to be true, and mixed with the language of religion, faith and Christianity - when in fact it is a cult.

So how did this cult end up in Fiji?

According to news outlets The Grace Road Church became notorious after 400 of its members moved to Fiji in 2014 claiming they would be safe from imminent natural disaster.

Its founder Shin Ok-ju was jailed in 2019 for holding followers captive in Fiji and subjecting them to violence.

The Church has built a business empire after arriving in Fiji.

It denies it is a cult - as well as allegations of abuse.

One has to ask, how does a cult from South Korea establish itself and business interests in a country like Fiji.

And the simple answer is because somebody benefitted from them being there and building their business, so normal checks and balances were ignored until now, with the change of government.

What’s clear is that someone invited these people to our Ipukarea, someone is hosting them and someone is in discussions with them, and their presence again on Rarotonga should be a red flag to us all.

Thankfully our own government has created distance between themselves and Glory Road being in Rarotonga, so we are left then, with the question of who invited them or who accepted the invitation.

And this is why we are compelled by scripture to be discerning and to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing, because they look like sheep, behave like sheep, but in their hearts, is the heart of a wolf.

On their business website, it says - Agriculture operation was first established as our forefront with an aim of food security and self-sufficiency. We have since evolved to be a more diversified entity with a fast-growing and sustainable development of agriculture, construction, food processing, restaurants, trading, resorts, health services and more. GR Group is laying the eternal foundation to raise Fiji to be the centre of the world as promised in the Bible. And that’s because they believe Fiji is the sanctuary promised them to escape the coming Doomsday, and why they are called a Doomsday Cult.

Reading through their business website they focus on developing agriculture, but of greater concern is their construction arm with former projects in Fiji including the extension of the Presidents House, the former Prime Ministers residence, Fiji National University, the airport and courthouse alterations and refurbishment.

The procurement of these government contracts someone had to sign off on and why we must remain vigilant and send our Grace Road Church visitors back to Fiji, empty handed, as soon as is possible.