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Russian police arrest US pastor for bribery

Police on Russia's Pacific island of Sakhalin have detained a US missionary on suspicion of bribing a local official, prosecutors said.

Hio Sun Pak, a 65-year-old US citizen and Pentecostal pastor, and his interpreter were held in a police sting operation.

Prosecutors say the two offered a local immigration official 300 000 roubles (about R82 000) to halt an investigation into the alleged use of illegal labourers by the missionary's church.

"The representatives of the Blagodat (Grace) church were detained immediately after a bribe ... was handed to the official in the office of the head of immigration control," local prosecutors said in a statement.

Asked to comment on the case, a member of the Blagodat church, which says it has 1 500 mostly ethnic Korean worshippers, said there had been a "misunderstanding."

A spokesperson for the nearest US consulate, in the city of Vladivostok on the Russian mainland, said the consulate was "aware of (the arrest) and is following the case."

© Independent Online

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