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Man dies during forced exorcism performed by parents, brother

12/02/2023 07:50 PM
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Photo courtesy of the police Dec. 2, 2023
Photo courtesy of the police Dec. 2, 2023

Yunlin, Dec. 2 (CNA) A man has died following a "demon-expelling" exorcism performed on him by his parents and brother on Friday, which involved attempted saliva extraction, local police said Saturday.

The three suspects, who have been detained by police following the death of the 28-year-old man, surnamed Chen (陳), mistakenly believed in the superstition that he had "impurities" within him, Huang Hsin-hao (黃星豪), deputy head of the investigation team at Huwei Precinct in Yunlin County, told a press conference.

"They wanted to rid the impurities [from the man] through an exorcism and believed that removing his saliva would help restore him to normalcy," Huang said.

The exact cause of death will be determined after an autopsy, according to the police, but it is suspected he died of suffocation.

On Friday, Chen was forced to undergo the "demon-expelling" ritual in front of an ancestral shrine in his home, during which he was grabbed by his father from behind and had his legs restrained by his brother, while his mother held his head and reached into his mouth with her bare hand trying to scoop out his saliva, the police said.

Chen's family members said he started to exhibit abnormal behavior traits after he returned home very late one day and subsequently went for days without eating or drinking, which led them to believe he was "possessed by evil," particularly as his condition did not improve following a hospital visit, according to the local police.

According to a press release issued by the Yunlin District Prosecutors Office earlier Saturday, Chen had suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and was admitted in the early hours of Friday, but was pronounced dead after resuscitation failed.

Chen's parents, who are both 56, and his brother have been detained on suspicion of inflicting injuries that resulted in death, prosecutors said.

(By Tsai Chih-ming, Wu Kuan-hsien and Shih Hsiu-chuan)


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