Sect under suspicion for “diverse illicit activities”
PJ police from Coimbra have conducted a “mega-operation” at the self-described Kingdom of Pineal, land in the municipality of Oliveira do Hospital on which a polygamous sect has been living since 2020.
Under investigation are “suspicions of various illicit activities”, beyond the complicated issue of a baby having been born within the community to die a little over a year later, and be cremated without notice to authorities at any point.
According to reports this morning, the illicit activities alluded to today include ‘possible frauds and drug trafficking’.
But the thrust of the operation appears to be in clarifying the circumstances that caused the death of the child in 2022, and “all the facts associated”, as well as establishing the health, safety and welfare of the other children still residing on the 4.7 hectares of land – none of whom go to local schools, or attend or are even registered at the local health centre.
It seems from today’s reports, that the consequence of initial attention by the media resulted in former members of the sect coming forwards. One, named only as Ana Sofia, has described how when entering the community, people are “encouraged to cut their ties with family” and “invest” in the Kingdom.
She invested “the few savings she had”, and suggests people have been tricked into parting with tens of thousands of euros, and then manipulated with recourse to ‘mind games’.
Whatever the truth, the sect’s spiritual leader – a former chef from UK by the name of Martin Kenny (a man who has already appeared on British breakfast television, defending that the earth is flat) is very much in the eyes of authorities.
Today, police are understood to have sealed off roads in and out of the community, while conducting searches with the help of sniffer dogs.
Diário de Coimbra refers to “the alleged construction of equipment in an irregular way”, as well as “parties that occurred there and could be related with the trafficking of drugs”.
The members of the community are understood to have calmly allowed the searches take place, and one baby, in the company of his father, was taken afterwards to be ‘registered’, to return to the community later today.
Says Correio da Manhã, sect members told authorities that they are all there under their own free will.
“For now the crimes of negligent homicide, or homicide by omission and the profaning of a corpse are being investigated. No one is being held in preventive custody, There were no arrests. The searches were accompanied by a magistrate of the Coimbra public prosecutors office”.