CBS-TV Report on UFO cult
"Southern California Authorities Move on Flying Saucer Cult," reads the headline above a Dec. 23 report from CBS-TV/Channel2000 from San Dimas, California, with a subhead reading "Group's actions lead to fears of another mass suicide." The complete story reads:
Amid concerns of another mass suicide, Southern
California authorities say they've broken up a cult
kidnapping. The group, called God's Salvation Church,
was based in San Dimas and some members were on the
move to Garland, Texas, when police moved in Monday
night, reports CBS 2 News.
Authorities, tipped off by the Taiwanese government,
raided the home of one of the cult members to rescue a
16-year-old girl (pictured), said CBS 2 News reporter
Kyle Kraska. The teen's mother claimed her daughter was being held against her will.
"We got information ... that there might be (an) attempt to
suicide, so it was urgent for us to really contact the
church and get a hold of her," Los Angeles Sheriff's
Department spokesman Thanh Ly told Kraska.
The girl was among more than 100 Taiwanese members
of the extreme religious group, said Kraska. They came
together at a San Dimas church before starting their
journey to Texas. The move comes in response to what
they say is a message from God about a trip to heaven
aboard a spaceship.
"On March 31st there will be one God appear in the exact
appearance with Mr. Chen," said the leader of the group,
Hon Ming Chen (pictured, above), speaking through a
Some 21 families from the church have moved to a house
in Garland to await God's spaceship, said Kraska. Chen
has purchased a house (pictured) in the Ridgewood
neighborhood to act as the Garland headquarters.
The story is eerily similar to the infamous "Heaven's
Gate" cult -- so much so that the Taiwanese government
has become very concerned and has set up a special task force to investigate the group, said
Heaven's Gate members committed suicide in the belief they would be taken to paradise aboard a
spaceship. The bodies of 39 cult members were found March 26 at a rented Rancho Santa Fe
mansion. (Full story)
However, members of God's Salvation Church have tried
to reassure their government that they are not a suicidal
religious cult. They say they consider every life precious
and would never commit suicide, said Kraska.
But not everyone is reassured by the group's claims.
"They might not think, all of them think, (that) they might
kill themselves, but I believe some of them of them do
feel they might kill themselves or have some kind of ...
gas (and) when they're sleeping they might take their
lives," Gilbert Orneleus, who has investigated the church
and worked with the Taiwanese government, told Kraska.
One member's mother told police her daughter had paid 60,000 Taiwan dollars ($1,875 U.S.) in
membership fees and had been asked to pay at least $30,000 U.S. more if she were to be saved,
reported The Agence France-Presse (AFPR).
Several ministries in Taiwan, including the foreign ministry, met Monday to work out measures
against the cult, said AFPR.
Dec. 22 CBS-TV transcript (L.A.)
"Is a Taiwanese Cult Another Heaven's Gate?" reads the headline above a Dec. 22 report from CBS-TV in Los Angeles, with a subhead reading "Taiwan Steps Up Investigation into Flying Saucer Cult." The complete transcript reads:
A large group of Taiwanese citizens has moved to
Texas in response to what they say is a message from
God about a trip to heaven aboard a spaceship.
According to CBS 2 News, the Taiwanese group based in
San Dimas sounds a lot like the infamous "Heaven's
Gate" group -- so much so that the Taiwanese
government has become very concerned.
Heaven's Gate cult members committed suicide in the
belief they would be taken to paradise aboard a
spaceship. (Full story)
The bodies of 39 Heaven's Gate members were found March 26 at a rented Rancho Santa Fe
The Taiwanese group, called God's Salvation Church, have tried to reassure their government that
they are not a suicidal religious cult. They say they consider every life is too precious and would
never commit suicide, said CBS 2 News.
One member's mother told police her daughter had paid
60,000 Taiwan dollars ($1,875 U.S.) in membership fees
and had been asked to pay at least $30,000 U.S. more if
she were to be saved, reported The Agence France-Presse
Several ministries, including the foreign ministry, met
Monday to work out measures against the cult, said
Meanwhile, 21 families from the church have moved to a
house in Garland, Texas, to await God's spaceship which
is expected to land on March 31, reports CBS 2 News' Kyle Kraska.
The leader of the group, Hon Ming Chen, purchased a house (pictured, left) in the Ridgewood
neighborhood to act as the Garland headquarters.
Taiwan has set up a special force to investigate the cult, said CBS 2 News.
Report from Taiwan (summary)
"Evidence Against Taiwan UFO Cult Mounts," reads the headline above a story I wrote from http://www. trancenet.org in California on Dec. 30. Datedlined from Taiwan, where I am currently residing, the story reads: " The news from Taiwan points to a tragedy-in-the-making. The two English-language newspapers, The China Post and the China News, are covering the Chen Tao UFO cult in Garland on a regular basis and gathering more and more evidence against the cult. A recent article in the China News, headlined "Evidence against Taiwan cult leader surfaces," notes that the Taipei District Prosecutors Office received a package the day before Christmas that contained evidence against Hon Ming Chen, the 42-year-old leader of the cult in Garland, Texas. Chief Prosecutor Fumei Chu said the evidence suggests Chen told his followers to establish a headquarters for his cult in Texas earlier this year. The Chinese-language newspaper United Evening News reported that the package contained evidence that Chen had urged followers to commit mass suicide.The package contained videotapes, cassettes, and printed material, according to the United Evening News. Police also found that cultists had to sign a contract for their "trip," the newspaper reported. The contract stipulates that followers cannot return to Taiwan before March 31, police said. Taiwan police have also received a letter from one cultist accusing Chen of fraudulently obtaining money from sect members. The letter also said that cult members were set to die in a horrible manner if they believed Chen's teachings. Another follower has also come forward after returning to his home in Taiwan, after leaving his wife and children to go the United States. He described the trip as a "nightmare." The China News has also reported that the Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau (Taiwan's FBI) has tried to interview a second leader of the cult, a medical doctor by the name of Shihkuan Lo. Police believe there are three leaders of the cult, Chen, Lo and an unidentified third man. When the CIB attempted to question Lo before Christmas in Taiwan, they were "met with hostility" and failed to interview him, according to the China News. Lo later left for the United States, the newspaper reported. A Taiwanese man who is not a member of the cult, but whose family members and relatives, 12 in all, have joined the cult in Garland, told the China News that he was worried about them. He said that when he tried to call them in mid-December, they told him that they were "embarrassed" to return to Taiwan because of public opinion. In Chinese culture, fear of "losing face" is a grave concern. One of the most startling developments in the entire UFO cult affair has been the attitude of The China Post, a 20-page newspaper directed at the foreign and diplomatic community in Taiwan. In an editorial published on Christmas Day, headlined "UFO cult says a lot about Taiwan," the paper outlined the background of the cult and its headline-grabbing activities in California and Texas. But then the editorial took a very different direction, noting: "It is too early to tell whether Chen's prediction that God will show up at the end of March is correct. We won't know, in fact, until that very moment. Maybe his prophecy will turn out to be true...Let's wait and see." This unsigned editorial says a lot about Taiwan! -- (c)1997 Terry Walker (http://members.tripod.com/~tokyoboardwalker/UFO.html
emailto: email@example.com)====================================================================================================================RELATED NEWS: (Jan. 9) -- "UFO suicide cult in Spain is thwarted by authorities," reads the headline above a Reuters story from Madrid, written by Tracey Ober. The text reads:
Spanish police foiled a mass suicide planned by a doomsday sect whose
30 members believed their souls would be carried away by a spaceship
from the summit at Tenerife's Teide volcano, officials said on Thursday.
The group, which may be linked to the infamous Solar Temple suicide cult
or a Hindu apocalyptic sect, was convinced that the world would end at 3
p.m. EST on Thursday, according to a Canaries government official.
Police who had been tracking the group's movement arrested their leader,
German psychologist Heide Fittkau-Garthe, late on Wednesday alleging
inducement to suicide.
They identified 29 other sect members, including 20 women and four
children, all of them German nationals except for one woman from the
They were staging a "last supper" at a private residence in the city of
Santa Cruz de Tenerife before police intervened, officials said.
The group was said to have planned to use rented cars to reach the Teide
volcano, where they believed they were to be picked up by the spaceship.
Officials believe the Canaries group emerged from the Isis Holistic
Center in Santa Cruz. They started watching closely for cult activity in
the Canary Islands a year ago after noticing a growing number of what
they called "destructive sects."
"Inducement to suicide is a crime, and for that reason the security
forces had to avoid this evil thing," Antonio Lopez, the Canaries
official, told a news conference.
The group's followers, who were not detained with their leader, refused
to speak to police. Officials said they appeared to still be under
Fittkau-Garthe's influence. -- (c) Reuters News Service
(from the) CHINA NEWS (in Taiwan)
" Cult awaits God on March 31" trumpeted the headline in the Dec. 25 issue of the China News in Taiwan, with a subhead reading " Taiwanese sect leader gives first news conference in Texas." The text reads:
A Taiwanese spiritual sect has moved into a working-class neighborhood in this north Dallas suburb to await
God's arrival here in March 1998, the group's leader said on Tuesday.
Chen Hon-ming, who led about 150 followers including more than 30 children here from Taiwan, said on
Tuesday God would be reincarnated as man on March 31 at precisely 10 am local time at his modest house
on Ridgedale Drive.
Chen, who chose to move to Garland because it sounds like "God land," said he would put his life in the
hands of his followers if the prophesy was not fulfilled.
"If it does not happen, he will put his life in the hands of the people whether he should be executed or put to
death," said an interpreter for Chen, who spoke in Chinese.
Contrary to news reports in Taiwan, the group does not plan to stage a mass suicide if God fails to show, said
Lo Yu-cheng, deputy director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston, who visited
leaders and other members of the group last week.
"There's no reason to be concerned that they would commit suicide," Lo told Reuters. "They have return
(airplane) tickets home."
Newspapers in Taiwan last week reported that the group would stage a mass suicide in Texas. Concerns were
heightened when the group's name was translated into English as "God Save the Flying Saucers," conjuring
images of the mass suicide of the Heaven's Gate cult in San Diego last March.
In his first news conference since arriving in Garland, Chen said God's arrival would be preceded by
turbulent weather, heavenly writings in the skies and sightings of aircraft moving at miraculous speeds.
An advertisement would be broadcast on local television six days before God's arrival, Chen said.
"If you turn on your television and switch your channel to channel 18, you will see God making the
advertisement that he is coming into the world," Chen said. "It is advertised by God himself."
Chen preaches a mix of Christianity and Buddhism, but most of his followers do not have strong religious
beliefs, Lo said. The group, which includes an engineer, doctors and several teachers, believes a disaster will
strike Taiwan next year and the earth will come to an end before the end of the century unless God
intervenes, he said.
The group's arrival intrigued local residents in Garland, where the group bought up 20 homes and hoped to
attract a million people to be touched by the hands of God in March. But Mayor James Ratliff said he was too
busy dealing with a sewer plant failure over the weekend to keep close tabs on the group's activities.
"The first thing we know from scripture is no man knows the time the Lord is going to return," he said. "Our
police department has been put aware and we don't want them to endanger anyone, including themselves." -- (c)1997 China News.
(more from) CHINA NEWS (in Taiwan)
"'Saucer' cultists reportedly paid huge membership fees," reads the headline above an unbylined story in the China News on Dec. 23, a few days after the main story broke in Taipei, trumpeted on TV news shows, radio and Chinese newspapers. The story reads:
The Criminal Investigation Bureau (the CIB, kind of like Taiwan's FBI -- ed.) has uncovered allegations that the leader of the religious cult that
recently left for the US collected large sums of money from members as a "joining fee," and that the US
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been called on to assist in the investigation, according to a report in
the China Times Express, a Chinese-language newspaper.
The CIB interviewed a family belonging to the "God Save the Earth Flying Saucer Foundation" and found
that the leader of the cult, Chen Heng-ming, had requested US$60,000 as a fee for joining the sect. Members
of the foundation are said to be planning a mass suicide to take place in Texas.
Details of the exact nature of the "Saucer Foundation" are sketchy. Various newspaper reports have indicated
that the members have left Taiwan to escape a decaying environment and an increase in crime. The cult
members believe they are to meet with a UFO sometime in March next year, and be taken to a better place.
Chou Lin Yue-li, the mother of the family, said that Chen requested that her daughter pay NT$60,000 to
become a member, and between US$30,000 and US$60,000 more for the privilege of securing a "lift" on the
Prosecutor Chu Fu-mei investigated four areas where the cult apparently held meetings: Hsinchu County,
Taichung City, Tainan City and Kaohsiung County. He said that he is working to find information which
could show that Chen had collected fees from members illegally.
Chu said that the leader of the cult may have used deceptive methods to obtain funds, or solicited money in a
way that is inconsistent with the legal channels afforded mainstream religions.
Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, National Police Administration, Overseas
Chinese Affairs Commission and the Taipei Investigation Bureau have held discussions on the issue of
whether or not the cultists are actually gathering for a mass suicide and what steps can be taken to persuade
these people to return safely to Taiwan.
According to MOFA spokesman Roy Wu, the leader of the cult will be questioned in detail by the director of
Taiwan's representative trade office in Houston as soon as the two can arrange a meeting.
In related news, a local group studying Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs, held a press conference in
Taipei to urge residents not to be confused by the recent events surrounding the cult. Chinese Ufology
Association Chairman Ho Hsien-jung urged the government to step in and help educate the public on the
scientific possibilities of UFOs and to make it clear that religious cults are in no way connected with their
association or extraterrestral activities. -- (c)1997 CHINA NEWS