South Korea professor charged over 'holy water' fraud
- 1 July 2010
- From the section Asia-Pacific
A South Korean professor who claimed he could make tap water into holy water will face fraud charges, police say.
The man, named as Prof Kim, claimed he could digitally capture the elements of holy water from Lourdes, France, that believers say has healing powers.
He had sold devices to more than 5,000 people, making almost 1.7bn won ($1.3m, £870,000).
Eight people, including Prof Kim's wife and brother-in-law, will also be charged.
The famous shrine to the Virgin Mary at Lourdes offers water which some believe has healing powers.
Mr Kim had claimed his ceramic and paper filters, and plastic cards used in water purifiers, had captured those powers for onward transmission.
He and his associates allegedly told customers that different devices cured different illnesses, including diabetes and tumours.
"Professor Kim says if the medical properties are changed into digital signals, and radiated onto any water, the water will adapt those properties," the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper quoted police as saying.
But police said experts had confirmed that this was "completely impossible, based on no scientific evidence".
The police also said that the people who had bought the devices had complained when they did not work.