A photo of Church of Almighty God worshippers in China. (Internet photo)
Followers of the doomsday cult Church of Almighty God, which are suspects in a recent murder case in Shandong province, have spread to Taiwan, according to church officials.
The Shandong police arrested six suspects, who were found beating a woman outside a McDonald's outlet in Shandong's Zhaoyuan on May 28. The victim died at a hospital later that day.
According to a police statement released on May 31, the six suspects are all members of the cult, and books and materials related to the sect were found in their homes.
The cult, run by former school teacher Zhao Weishan, who fled to the United States from China in 2000, advertised in Taiwanese newspapers last year, internet users revealed in their online posts.
An official from a Christian church in Zhongli in the northern Taiwanese county of Taoyuan said it became aware of the members of the cult infiltrating local churches about six months ago, and has seen some individuals being converted.
Local churches in Taiwan issued a joint statement last year, distancing themselves from the cult, and blamed the cult for spreading heresy.
Several cases of violence in China have been linked to the cult, including that of a boy in Shanxi, whose eyes were forcibly removed last August.
The Beijing-based Mirror Evening News reported that a large number of local residents are followers of the cult, and some of them have told the newspaper that the assault was a result of the boys' family trying to leave the sect.