Netizens have reportedly gone on a witch-hunt, releasing a list of 50 South Korean celebrities who are rumoured to be members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

All eyes are on the Christian sect due to its role in the coronavirus outbreak in the Korean city of Daegu. According to reports, a 61-year-old member developed symptoms and yet attended at least four services in the city, which led to a spike in the number of infections.

South Korea currently records the highest number of cases outside of China. It has more than 6,000 coronavirus cases and 42 deaths, with a majority of the confirmed cases coming from Daegu. Despite a public apology by the founder Lee Man Hee, the people’s rage towards the sect aren’t quelled.

The list that was released by netizens includes names such as famous actors Lee Byung Hun and Won Bin, actresses Lee Min Jung and Lee Na Young, and singers Gummy and Ivy.

Lee min jung lee byung hun
Actress Lee Min Jung and her husband, actor Lee Byung Hun.

In response, the celebrities have released statements through their agencies to deny any relations to the Christian sect, and have called the allegations “untruthful rumours”.

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It was also reported that comedian-host Yoo Jae Suk became a trending search topic, resulting in his agency FNC Entertainment releasing a statement to deny the claim that he’s connected to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

Yoo jae suk

To further protect the artistes, their agencies also said they’ll take legal actions against these claims and harsh actions against those who spread these rumours. They urged netizens not to try the law and perpetuate false information.

Images: TPG/Click Photos

Text: Bryan Lim / AsiaOne / March 2020