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World News

Former ‘saviour Pastor’ Chun Ki-won sentenced to 5 years for abuse of North Korean teenagers

by Lydia Davies

South Korean pastor Chun Ki-won, once highly praised for his efforts in rescuing North Korean escapees, has been sentenced to five years in jail for sexually abusing teenage defectors at his boarding school in Seoul.

The 67-year-old, hailed as an "Asian Schindler" for his humanitarian endeavours, faced accusations of molesting six minors, some of whom sought refuge at his Durihana mission.

Chun had denied the charges but a court on Wednesday ruled the victims' evidence as irrefutable.

"The victims are making consistent statements and it includes content that cannot be stated without first-hand experience of the circumstances", The Judge said.

He added that Chun had committed his crimes from "a position where he had absolute influence".

Chun was found guilty in five of six cases of abuse against the minors. Some of them had escaped North Korea alone and others with their families under the guidance of Chun's mission.

Chun's downfall marks a stark contrast to his previous acclaim as a saviour figure, with his Durihana NGO facilitating the escape of over 1,000 North Koreans from the oppressive regime.

His arrest has sent shockwaves through South Korea, where his trial garnered widespread attention, underscoring the disillusionment and betrayal felt by many.

Media coverage of his arrest and trial reflects the dramatic shift in public perception, with Chun's descent from humanitarian icon to convicted abuser.

 

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