Teenager arrested after stabbing death at Sydney Church of Scientology Headquarters

GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty ImagesSignage at the Church of Scientology building in the centre of Sydney.
  • A teenager is under arrest and a man is dead after a stabbing at the Sydney headquarters of the Church of Scientology.
  • Police say two men were injured when a 16-year-old produced a kitchen knife while being escorted off the premises.
  • A 24-year-old Taiwanese national died later in hospital.

A 16-year-old has been arrested following the stabbing death of a 24-year-old man at the Australasian HQ of the controversial Church of Scientology in Sydney.

News Ltd reports the teenager was asked to vacate the premises around lunchtime on Thursday.

As the teenager was being escorted down the driveway, police have told reporters that a massive 25-centimetre long kitchen blade was produced.

“With that knife he stabbed a 24-year-old … Taiwanese male in the neck and he also caused lacerations to an older gentleman also escorting him from the premises,” Detective Chief Inspector Simon Jones told reporters.

The 16-year-old was arrested when police arrived on scene shortly after.

The two injured men – both Scientology employees – were taken to Royal North Shore Hospital, News Ltd reports, where the Taiwanese national died.

The 30-year-old man who suffered facial lacerations is reportedly in a stable condition.

“The staff made the decision that he should leave the premises,” Jones told reporters. “(The 16-year-old) was being walked out. For some reason, something happened. He removed the knife and caused the injuries that resulted in this tragedy.”

Police believe the 16-year old had a family member who attended the church, and that the family member was there on the day, according to The Guardian.

Scientology employees had made the decision to remove the teenage boy “in relation to a domestic incident that occurred yesterday,” Jones added.

While initial reports do suggest that the attack was related to a “domestic incident” it is unclear why the attack occurred on Scientology grounds.

The complex, in North Sydney is the largest Scientology centre outside the United States.

The giant, 13,500 square metre building, opened in September 2016, was bought by the church for a reported $37 million in 2014.

The teenager was reportedly led off the grounds by police, handcuffed and with paper bags covering both hands.

“It’s a huge building, a lot of people come from around Asia to study here,” a young churchgoer told the Australian Associated Press. “It offers a lot of services.”

The church, which claims up to 150,000 Australian followers, describes the Sydney complex on its website as providing “advanced religious services to Scientologists from across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region”.

The 2016 Australian census records 1,684 people describing their religion as Scientology.

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