KOREAN HONORARY CONSUL IN MARSHALLS IN TROUBLE FOR FRAUD

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SEOUL, South Korea (February 4, 2000 – Marshall Islands Journal)---Mr. Big, Mo Haeng Yong, the promoter of a $6 billion resort development for Mili and other atolls in the Marshall Islands, was arrested last week in Korea for allegedly cheating his followers out of tens of millions of dollars.

Known in South Korea as a "doomsday cult" leader, Mo -- who is known locally as "Big Man" -- was arrested last Tuesday for allegedly defrauding his followers, the French news agency AFP reported.

Mo, 66, is suspected of extorting at least 100 billion won ($88 million) from followers who believed the money would be spent on building a cult place of worship, according to AFP.

Following his arrest last Tuesday, prosecution authorities in Korea sought a court warrant to formally indict him on charges of cheating his followers out of 17 billion won (15 million dollars). Mo, his wife and five others have been detained, AFP reported.

Mo allegedly told his flock the end of the world will come on February 19 this year when the "Chi," or mystistic energy of the earth will be depleted.

But he claimed those who stored Chi in their bodies by following his cult would be able to survive the end of the world and live eternally.

He and his wife were about to leave for Japan to avoid arrest when they were detained by investigators.

The cult has followers numbering between 100,000 and 150,000 across the country, the Seoul district prosecution authorities said.

The Marshall Islands has been gaining exposure as part of Mo’s arrest coverage in the Korean press. News reports in Korea say his group has been promoting investment in the Marshall Islands, claiming that they had secured a tourism development project here.

The previous RMI government named Mo as its honorary consul in Korea in the late 1990s. He visited the Marshall Islands on many occasions and frequently sought, and received, Journal coverage of what started as a proposal for resort/casino development on Mili and then burgeoned into a three-atoll -- Mili-Arno-Majuro -- tourist development, a plan he claimed would involve an investment of $6 billion.

Mo, in concert with local businessman and former Mili Senator Keijo Bien and Marshall Development, Ltd., has been promising development of resort facilities on Mili since late 1996. He visited the Marshalls as recently as three weeks prior to the November national election to pitch his Mili plan once again.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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