Beijing, May 31, 2014, — Chinese police have detained six alleged doomsday cult members on suspicion of beating a young woman to death at a McDonald’s restaurant in the eastern coastal city of Zhaoyuan, state media reported Saturday.
People gathered outside the McDonald’s restaurant after the murder (file photo).
Six members of the “heretic sect Quannengshen” allegedly killed the woman, surnamed Wu, Wednesday evening after she refused to give them her phone number for recruitment purposes, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The members of the group — which translates to “omnipotent spirit” — are mostly unemployed and seem to focus around a man surnamed Zhang from the northern province of Hebei. The group includes several of his children.
The victim reportedly told the group to go away after they asked for her phone number, reported China Central Television (CCTV). That allegedly prompted an outburst from one of the daughters.
“You’re no good! You’re an evil spirit!” the assailant reportedly shouted before grabbing a chair and hitting the victim. When the victim fought back, the five other members allegedly joined in.
The alleged killers reportedly joined the Quannengshen sect seven years ago, reported CCTV. Books and other sect materials were found at their residence in the seashore city of Bohai, Xinhua reported.
“McDonald’s is very sorry. We express our sorrow for the victim of the incident,” the restaurant chain announced in a Chinese language statement on its official mainland Chinese microblog on Saturday.
“When the incident occurred, the restaurant called the police and the surveillance tape has been handed to the local police for investigation.”
Members of the faith — also known as Dongfang Shandian (Oriental Thunder) have been sentenced in the past for disseminating materials about their beliefs and preaching about an impending apocalypse.
Zhao Weishan, of the northern province of Heilongjiang, launched the movement in central China’s Henan province in 1993, the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis newspaper reported. CCTV reported that it has since spread widely.
“They misquote and misinterpret the Christian Bible and engage in illegal activities in the name of Christianity,” the Chinese-language report reported. “It was defined as cult in 1995.”