Wednesday, May 12, 1999 Published at 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Korean sect storms TV station
Riot police: More than 600 were needed to restore order
Hundreds of followers of a Christian sect in South Korea have stormed a television station and forced a programme about their leader off the air.
Seoul-based Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) was showing a documentary examining claims that sect leader Lee Jae-rok could cure illness by touch when the attack occurred late on Tuesday evening.
Mr Lee heads the 65,000-strong Manmin Chungang Sungkyol sect, a Protestant denomination whose name roughly translates as All Holiness Church. The organisation was thrown out of the Christian Council of Korea last month in a row over "heretical" claims.
Approximately 300 people led the assault on the building. They said the TV station had distorted the facts and defamed the sect's image.
MBC officials estimated 50 protesters had overpowered security guards and broken into the control room where they cut the power. The picture was restored, but lost again on three further occasions.
An MBC spokesman said: "The programme was interrupted just five minutes after it began. We had to broadcast other programmes instead."
Others attacked the producer of the programme, entitled PD-Notepad, and then held a sit-in in the lobby. Another 1,500 supporters blocked a neighbouring street with a sit-down protest.
At least 600 South Korean riot police were mobilised to end the occupation.
Six people were arrested during the incident, which is understood to have ended without injuries. Investigators are reportedly seeking to question church leaders in relation to the incident, although it is not thought that Mr Lee is wanted.
The sect had earlier reportedly obtained a court order preventing MBC from screening a story about Mr Lee's sex life.
The station said it will re-show the interrupted programmed at a later date.