SCMP: Cult leader may be charged over use of chemicals ( 26 July, 1996)

Friday July 26 1996


Legal action may be taken against a religious leader who has been encouraging his followers to drink a concentrated chemical solution that medical experts believe is dangerous.

But Church of Zion leader Leung Yat-wah yesterday hit out at critics of his teachings and said he would continue to encourage his followers to swallow hydrogen peroxide.

Mr Leung claims it cures anything from minor ailments to killer diseases.

‘As a preacher, I have a duty to speak the truth. This means it is my duty to tell my followers to drink a chemical that is highly effective and good for their health,’ he said.

‘I am telling the truth about the chemical, which traditional Western doctors may be unwilling to use and tell you about.’ Mr Leung said the use of the highly combustible chemical, which he sells for $30 a bottle to 2,000 worshippers at his Fanling-based church, was just one part of his teaching.

‘This is a Christian church, not a hydrogen peroxide church,’ he said.

Security Branch officials confirmed they were studying the Offences Against the Person Ordinance and the Dangerous Goods Ordinance to see if the church was breaking the law by using or storing the chemical.

Fire officer Chong Ho-ming, in charge of fire safety in the northeastern New Territories, said they would carry out raids on the group’s base in Fanling Wai.

They conducted two unsuccessful searches this week after it was revealed the Church had taken delivery of a large shipment of the chemical from Canada in late May and early June.

Health Department officials are also monitoring the case after issuing a public warning against drinking the chemical.

Mr Leung said doctors and multinational pharmaceutical companies were conspiring to suppress the truth about hydrogen peroxide because it was a cheap and effective cure that would undermine their profits.

But pharmacist Francesca Lui, who works for an international company, dismissed the claim.

‘Hydrogen peroxide simply can’t deal with the illnesses claimed by this man,’ she said.

In hospitals, it is only used on external injuries.