Scientology raided in Belgium
October 1 1999 "Piltdown Man" (firstname.lastname@example.org.NOSPAM) reports to the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology that in Belgium 10 Scientology locations were raided by police. 25 people were detained.
This is the whole post:
At 2 o'clock PM on Thursday, September 30, one hundred and twenty agents of the Belgian federal police conducted simultaneous raids across Belgium on a total of ten locations of the Church of Scientology and affiliated companies. Among those locations were the current headquarters of the cult and the new headquarters they're in the middle of moving to, both in Brussels, and the offices of U-Man in Malines.
At all locations, large amounts of documents and computer equipment were seized. At U-Man, all financial accounts were seized (the police arrived with a truck for the purpose).
At the request of Belgian authorities, a number of police raids were carried out in France at the same time.
Twenty-five people were detained for further questioning. Among these are an American citizen who heads Scientology's "Human Rights" organisation, located in Brussels. There are no reports as of the time of posting (6 AM local time) on whether any of these people have yet been released.
The raids are apparently the result of an ongoing investigation that started two years ago. The specific focuses (at this very early stage of news reporting) appear to be fraud, falsifying of accounts, and large-scale tax evasion. More detailed explanations from the judicial authorities are expected tomorrow.
A spokesperson for Scientology, Marc Bromberg, claimed in a statement to reporters that the raids are an unwarranted revenge action by the Belgian government for Scientology's stance against oppression of religious minorities.
The above is my summary of what I've been able to glean so far from reports on Belgian television. More, much much more is no doubt to come.
And on a less serious note: god, weren't the expressions on the faces of the few clams who arrived during the whole thing priceless! Thankfully, the police had made sure numerous camera teams and photographers were on hand. The funniest one was a lady who insisted no raid could possible be happening, because she had just come back and there was no raid when she left half an hour earlier. And there was another male one who claimed he wasn't worried at all, because: "we have nothing to hide". What, not even the OT levels?
Praise be Xenu! Move over Germany, here come the Belgians!