Nov. 12 (UPI) — Singaporean authorities have arrested 21 women and men for being members of Shincheonji, the secretive South Korean spiritual group that was blamed for a spike in COVID-19 circumstances earlier this yr.

Singapore’s Ministry of House Affairs stated authorities detained 9 males and 12 girls for being members of an unregistered chapter of the Korean church, Channel Information Asia reported Thursday.

Shincheonji might have been allowed to function in Singapore till February, when the ministry outlawed the group and its entrance entities had been dissolved. The choice got here after South Korea started to analyze Korea-based branches for disregarding social distancing pointers and never cooperating with native authorities.

Singapore accused Shincheonji headquarters in Korea of supporting the unlawful actions.

“Despite the actions taken, the native Shincheonji chapter has resumed its actions covertly, below the route of its South Korean dad or mum chapter,” the ministry stated.

Shincheonji “has been accused of infiltrating and disrupting established Korean church buildings through the use of deception and secrecy to trick folks into changing into concerned with them,” the ministry stated.

Members of outlawed organizations in Singapore can face a most jail sentence of three years or a $3,700 nice.

On Wednesday, Singapore stated an preliminary probe reveals the group detained on Monday had resumed their church actions, the Straits Occasions reported.

The ministry stated it “won’t enable members of illegal societies or individuals related to them to threaten Singapore’s public security, peace and good order.”

Native press studies didn’t point out whether or not the folks arrested had violated Singaporean COVID-19 pointers and the federal government didn’t present particulars on members’ actions.

In February, South Korea skilled an enormous coronavirus outbreak centered on the Daegu department of Shincheonji. The group turned the middle of controversy after it declined to reveal its full checklist of members and refused to cooperate on necessary COVID-19 testing.