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Protesters Interrupt S. Korea Show

May 12, 1999

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Police sought arrest warrants for six church leaders Wednesday after members of their congregation stormed a television network in Seoul and interrupted the airing of a program critical of the church’s pastor.

About 300 members of the All Holiness Church of Seoul overpowered 50 guards and seized control of the lobby of the network shortly before the program was to go on the air Tuesday night.

Five minutes after the program began, 50 protesters forced their way into the main control center and cut it off the air. Network engineers restored the program, but the protesters interrupted it three more times.

The Seoul church was expelled from the Korean National Council of Churches on April 30 because its pastor, Lee Jae-rok, claims to be Jesus Christ.

MBC-TV officials said the interrupted program, ``PD-Notepad,″ explored what they called Lee’s ``heretical″ statements and his gambling habits. The network had earlier been enjoined by a local court from airing a segment on the pastor’s sex life.

Lee was not among the church leaders for whom arrest warrants were sought.

The incident followed a sit-down protest by 1,500 church members in front of the television station Tuesday afternoon, demanding that the network cancel the program.

The Seoul church claims a membership of 60,000. It is one of 3,000 Holiness Churches in Korea, a Protestant denomination known only in this country.

The network said it will re-air the program.

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