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Man Stabs Cult Leader

April 23, 1995

TOKYO (AP) _ A man reportedly out to punish the doomsday cult suspected in the Tokyo subway gas attack stabbed a senior cult leader Sunday.

Hideo Murai, 36, head of the Aum Shinri Kyo (Supreme Truth) cult’s ``Science and Technology Ministry,″ was undergoing surgery for abdominal wounds. A cult spokesman at the hospital said Murai was in serious condition, the public television network NHK reported.

Police arrested a man they identified as Hiroyuki Jo, 29, a member of a rightist organization.

NHK said Jo, a South Korean living in Japan, told police ``I tried to give him punishment″ because of trouble caused by the cult.

The network said the attacker swung three times at Murai with a kitchen knife as Murai emerged from the cult’s Tokyo headquarters, stabbing him once.

The department Murai headed has been linked to its chemical research.

The cult has denied any connection with the March 20 attack on Tokyo’s subways, in which sarin nerve gas killed 12 people and sickened 5,500 others. It also has denied any involvement in two cases last week in which hundreds of people complained of stinging eyes and sore throats at a train station and shopping center in Yokohama, just south of the capital.

But police suspect the cult of making sarin. They have seized tons of potentially dangerous chemicals in raids on cult facilities and arrested more than 100 cult members on a variety of charges, none directly related to the subway attack.

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