Ching Chi Vui (Daily Express said the surname is Tsang) a.k.a Ivan, 37 of Tawau was the leader/prophet of a cult named Benevolent Missionary Association, Sabah branch presumably. It’s believed to be linked to a Philippines-rooted movement.
Another report said he belonged to a “Church Without Walls.”
Before he died 13 months ago, he told his followers not to bury him, but instead pray for him, as he would “come back to life.”
Upon his death, his followers wrapped his body in 13 layers of plastic and a blanket, put it in the middle of the living room of a house in Taman Kobusak Villa, Penampang, then started praying.
Ching had rented the house from a Tawau-based doctor for RM1,000 a month (another report said he rented it from a businessman who bought the house from a doctor). Now there’s RM20K rent outstanding and the house had no electricity or water.
They would’ve kept at it if police did not visit the house on Friday the 25th of September 2009.
They had received a report from a neighbour of weird chanting late into the night in total darkness.
There, police found:
- 3 women from Tawau, including twin sisters praying in another room. One of the women was a Ms Chu, 44. The twin sisters are aged 26.
- Ching’s dried-up, decomposed body clad only in shorts.
- walls plastered with Chinese-written religious words, at least one of them bearing an image of a cross.
The Daily Express said the women told police not to move the body or they would die. Ms Chu chanted prayers before the police took the body away.
Strangely, neighbours had not detect any foul smell all this time.
The cause of death is yet to be determined, but police did not detect any visible signs of injury to the body.
After the police recorded their statements, the women were released.
I think this piece of news should be listed in ghoulish web directories of the intarwebs.
By the way, is this the same Ivan Tsang who was charged with criminal intimidation in 2004?
Regarding the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), apparently it is a pseudo-Christian cult founded by Ruben Ecleo, Sr. (1934-1987) in 1965 on Dinagat, an island off Mindanao. Upon his death, he was succeeded by son Ruben Ecleo, Jr, whose followers consider him to be “a reincarnation of Jesus Christ,” and has a million-strong following in central and southern Philippines.
Someone wrote that the organisation has a “horrible reputation of being a murderous cult.”
Ching’s case draws a parallel to another PBMA related case, when the leader of a PBMA splinter group Tomas Eugenio died on 26th September 2004 asked that he not be buried but rather to pray for his resurrection. He was earlier arrested for illegally having in his possession high-power guns and bullets.
And as Quirina Flores said quoted to have said in 2003, it’s possible to be a Roman Catholic and member of the PBMA at the same time.