Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Sunday, 23 January, 2000, 18:46 GMT
Aum kidnap boy rescued

Police raid Police can raid the cult without a warrant


Police in Japan have rescued the kidnapped son of former Aum cult leader Shoko Asahara.

Two cult members have already been arrested in connnection with the seven-year-old boy's abduction on Friday.

Police say a group of six people, including two daughters of Asahara, were behind the kidnapping.

The boy was found unhurt at an inn in the hot spring resort of Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture on Sunday, Kyodo News Service said.


Shoko Asahara Shoko Asahara: Cult distancing itself from former leader

The rescue came two days after he was snatched from premises belonging to the cult in the village of Asahi 100km (60 miles) north-east of Tokyo.

Police obtained arrest warrants on Saturday for two of Asahara's daughters, aged 18 and 16, in connection with the abduction.

They said the cult's followers view the 16-year-old girl as her father's successor.

Asahara, 44, who has four daughters and two sons, is currently in prison facing charges related to the poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in March 1995.

Arrests

Police have arrested two cult members, Masaru Jingu, 30, and Satoshi Nagayama, 37, on suspicon of involvement in the kidnapping.

Their motive is uncertain, but correspondents say it could be related to a power struggle within the cult.


victims Twelve people were killed and thousands injured in the subway attack

Analysts say that moves by the cult's new leaders to change its name to Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, apologise for the Tokyo gas attack, and state publicly that Asahara was probably involved, have angered some hardliners.

Asahara has denied any involvement in the crimes committed by his followers.

The Japanese authorities have attempted to restrict the cult's activities.

Last November parliament passed legislation allowing police to inspect the group's facilities at any time.

In September, the cult was forced to close down several branch offices and two senior members were arrested on suspicion of confining a woman against her will.

The cult was stripped of most of its assets in 1996 when it was liquidated by court order, but has since amassed large funds through real estate purchases.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Asia-Pacific Contents

Country profiles

See also:
18 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Aum cult blames leader for gas attack
26 Dec 98 |  Asia-Pacific
Doomsday cult revival
23 Oct 98 |  Asia-Pacific
Doomsday cultist sentenced to death
01 Oct 98 |  World
Sarin uncovered
25 Dec 98 |  Asia-Pacific
Japanese sect's nerve gas plant destroyed
26 May 98 |  Asia-Pacific
Life sentence for Japan's 'Dr Death'

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories