POLICE in China have arrested 18 suspected members of a banned religious cult in the Zhejiang province, news agency Xinhua reported.
The murderous group gained notoriety after several of its members beat a woman to death in a McDonald’s restaurant in 2014 for refusing to give them her phone number.
The Church of Almighty God cult was started in the early 1990s by Zhao Weishan, who managed to convince his followers that his wife, Yang Xiangbang, was Jesus incarnate. The cult was banned in China in 1995 with Zhao and Yang fleeing to the US.
Members of the Church of Almighty God have denounced the Communist Party, which they refer to as the "big red dragon." The followers also believe that their membership in the Christian group will save them from a coming apocalypse.
The cult has been known to terrorise recruits into joining, forcing individuals to cut all ties with their previous lives in order to be fully indoctrinated.
One man, who remained anonymous in the fear that he would face retribution from cult members, told the BBC that the Church of Almighty God steals average people away from their loved ones.
“The cult is anti-family, anti-human, anti-government ... They throw away family relationships and encourage each other to do the same,” he said. “It takes people who are kind and makes them crazy and extreme.”