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One dead in stabbing at Scientology’s Australian ‘Advanced Org,’ 16-year-old taken into custody

[Police outside the AO in Chatswood. Credit: Elizabeth Bryan]

[NOTE: Please see our new story about this incident, with our experts discussing the strange circumstances around a Sea Org guard being killed at Australia’s Advance Org.]

Our first instinct when we heard the news breaking out of Sydney that two men had been stabbed at Scientology’s Advanced Org, one fatally, was to contact journalist Bryan Seymour to see if he had any inside information about what was going on. But Bryan is here in New York on vacation at the moment — we just spent time with him here yesterday. However, he tells us his newsroom back at home is on the case and he’ll get us an update as soon as he hears something.

At this point, we haven’t learned much more than what was first reported, that a 16-year-old boy was taken into custody for allegedly stabbing two men, apparently on the grounds of the Advanced Org in Chatswood, a Sydney suburb. The Advanced Org is where wealthy Scientologists go to receive upper-level auditing which can reach $1,000 an hour. It opened in September 2016, replacing another facility, and Seymour covered it for us live.

We are still waiting for any details about who the assailant was, who the two victims were, whether any or all of them were Scientologists.

UPDATE: Australian police are saying that the 16-year-old was on the grounds for “a legal reason”, but then was asked to leave. When he was being escorted out, he produced a knife and stabbed a 24-year-old Taiwanese man, a staff member of the facility, in the neck, who later died. An older man was also lacerated.

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The 16-year-old was also apparently involved in some kind of “domestic” incident yesterday that was in some way related.

According to the Guardian: “Police said they believe the 16-year old had a family member who attended the church, and that that family member was there on the day.”

We’ll add more details as soon as we get them.

UPDATE: Still very preliminary, and we want to be careful about this. But so far, based on police statements, this was a 16-year-old child in a Scientology family who had some kind of “domestic” incident yesterday, and today was on the grounds of the AO where his family member apparently worked or was getting services. He was asked to leave the premises, and was being escorted off the grounds by two Sea Org workers when he pulled out a knife and stabbed one of them, a 24-year-old Taiwan national, in the neck, fatally. The other SO worker, approximately 40 30 years old, also received some lacerations.

And yes, we have to agree with Observer: Getting an Elli Perkins vibe here.

More details when they come.

One question we haven’t seen the press bring up yet. Is it unusual for the AO to have a Taiwanese national on staff? No, not at all. Scientology is dying in Australia, and so they have had to import a lot of Taiwanese workers to keep the facilities there staffed.

What is unusual is that any activity happened at the AO at all. Scientology spent something like $40 million to turn a former national acoustics lab into its new Advanced Org that would serve Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. But even in its own planning papers it admitted that traffic at the facility would be light. And we would be surprised if at any time there were more than a couple dozen people — workers and Scientologists there to get services — on the campus at any one time.

Opening the AO in such a vast, lavish facility was purely for show, another part of David Miscavige’s attempt to convince his wealthy donors that Scientology is actually booming, when it isn’t.

None of that — the small number of people there, the presence of Taiwan nationals — may have had anything to do with today’s incident. We still are hoping to learn more about this Scientology family, what the “domestic incident” was about that happened the day before, and what the 16-year-old’s upset was about.

UPDATE: The fatally stabbed Sea Org worker was a Taiwan national, and police say that the assailant was also of Asian descent and “might need an interpreter.” We still don’t know if the family member they had a “domestic” dispute with the day before was someone who was working at the Advanced Org or was getting services there. But this is not the first time that the Scientology facilities in Sydney had problems from their tendency to bring people in from Taiwan.

Steve Cannane in 2013 covered the case of Alice Wu, a woman who claimed she had been trafficked from Taiwan to a Scientology center in Sydney, and who ended up having a mental breakdown.

We hope police in Australia are aware of this history and are asking pointed questions about all of the people involved in today’s incident about their association with the Scientology Advanced Org.

 


 
UPDATE (Jan 3, 1:15 PM): We know that the Daily Telegraph in Australia has reported that the family member was the assailant’s mother, and that there was a “feud” between them, and this is now being picked up by other news organizations. But as far as we can tell this did not come from the police, and we worry that this might have been sourced to something confusing that a bystander said about access to his own mother at the compound. For that reason we’re going to hold off on repeating the Daily Telegraph’s detail until we hear more from the police.

Things are still very preliminary — the dead Sea Org guard has not even been identified yet, and the Taipei Times reported that Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been unable to identify the victim, who was reported to be a Taiwan national. Scientology’s habit of locking up the passports of its Sea Org workers might be contributing to that situation.

 
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Start making your plans!

 
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Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Elisabeth Moss, Michael Peña, and Laura Prepon]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Scientology’s original case of ‘disconnection’ — L. Ron Hubbard and his doting mom and dad
[TWO years ago] David Miscavige has plenty of new Scientology buildings set to open in 2017
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s 2016: CNN plans to give L. Ron Hubbard his best press in decades
[FOUR years ago] LEAKED RENDERINGS: What Scientology’s (post-KCET) new media center will look like
[FIVE years ago] THE TOMMY DAVIS DEPOSITION: Scientology asks judge to reconsider
[SIX years ago] Scientology Brings Hope to Africa!
[SEVEN years ago] Mark Bunker and Mike Rinder Give Us a Preview of Enturbulation To Come

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,317 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,448 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,950 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,430 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 493 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 381 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,688 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,556 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,330 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,104 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,450 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,016 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,936 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,103 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,684 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,944 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,984 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,696 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,222 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,311 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,451 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,771 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,627 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,746 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,102 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,404 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,510 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,913 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,784 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,367 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,862 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,116 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,225 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on January 2, 2019 at 22:30

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