It's possible that Jeong Myeong-seok is only weeks away from release. I've asked a few people who I expected to know, but I keep getting a range of dates rather than a specific date. The issue is complicated by the fact Jeong was arrested in China and spent 10 months in a Chinese jail before being deported back to Korea for trial. Does that time served in China count towards his sentence? If so, he is weeks from release. A lawyer I asked thinks yes. Some others, who I felt sure would know the exact date, were not so sure. I found that uncertainty surprising and more than a little perplexing. The cult has certainly been ramping up the propaganda of late. Could they be getting ready for Jeong's imminent release? Or just annoyed that their secretive cult is no longer such a secret? Probably both, but an imminent release would surely keep them up late at night, not that members get much sleep anyway.
Here are a few key dates:May 1, 2007:
Arrested in China.Feb. 20, 2008:
Extradited to KoreaAugust 12, 2008:
Found guilty and sentenced to 6 yearsFeb. 10, 2009:
Appeal court added 4 years to the sentenceApril 23, 2009:
Supreme Court upheld 10-year sentence
I wrote the above yesterday morning, and then last night, thanks to the power of the internet and some helpful friends, I was directed to this Korean article about this very topic.
The article states with confidence but not certainty a release date of February 23, 2018. That's ten years and a few days after his extradition home.
The Feb. date coincides with the Winter Olympics which run from February 9 to 25. That reminds me of the shenanigans the cult pulled during and after the 2002 Soccer World Cup. My mind boggles at what they must be cooking up for the Olympics and Jeong's release. They probably see that coincidence as some kind of sign from God. On the other hand, there will be lots of visiting reporters in Korea and overall increased media interest. I speak from experience when I say JMS does not like media interest it cannot control. No cult does, but JMS is particularly sensitive partly because for so long they were able to fly under the radar. June 13, 2002: Smiling A Serious Business in South Korea
(Taipei Times)Aug. 5. 2002: Soccer Event to Lead Highlight Reel of Global Peace Meeting in Daejeon
(Korea JoongAng Daily)
Both reporters failed to connect the cult's front groups to the cult. The first I can understand as the writer was in Korea covering The World Cup (but interestingly enough, her paper The Taipei Times reported on the sexual abuse allegations seven months earlier)
. The failure in the Korean JoongAng Daily is a surprise, but it does demonstrates the value of such front groups and explains why the Global Association of Culture and Peace (GACP) front was abandoned once its connections to the cult were harder to conceal following widespread Japanese media interest in 2006
and the name appearing on Rick Ross's cult awareness site.
In 2002, the cult held an annual GACP event at the University of British Columbia. I doubt they could have done that had there been more awareness back then.