SEVEN Christians rang in the New Year behind bars after police raided a Christmas church service in Laos.
Nine police officers of the Phin district in the south raided the Nakanong Village’s Christmas church service and arrested three church leaders. The leaders, named as Akeo, Kert and Somwang, were arrested in the middle of worship. Police returned to the church later that evening arrested four more Christians, named as Boulai, Champee, Agae and Ayoung.
The police reportedly returned a third time that night and demolished the stage, cut off the power line, destroyed the sound system and seized three mobile phones.
The Human Right Watch For Lao Religious Freedom (HRWFLR) reports that the police were led by police chief Somdee and the worshippers been charged with an illegal Church service without permission.
Sirikoon Prasertsee, who leads the advocacy group, said: “They were last seen being handcuffed and led away to the Phin district police headquarters.”
This is the latest arrests in a serious of Church raids as activist and local Christians claim the persecution is linked to Communist party.