Japan cult leader executed over 1995 sarin attack

Shoko Asahara, leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, was executed today for orchestrating a 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 13 and hurt thousands. Six of his liutenants joined him at the noose.

On 20 March 1995, cult members released the Sarin on the Tokyo subway.

They left punctured bags filled with liquid nerve agent on central train lines. The toxin struck victims down in a matter of seconds, leaving them choking and vomiting, some blinded and paralysed. Rescue workers had to wear hazmat suits and gas masks to help the injured and deal with the poison. … The cult began as a spiritual group mixing Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, later including elements of apocalyptic Christian prophesies.

Aum always had big plans.

About 25 members of Aum Shinrikyo came to Australia to stay at Banjawarn in 1993, and while the group had come to the attention of Australian Customs upon their arrival in the country because of the vast amount of excess luggage they brought with them — reportedly $30,000 worth — few members of the public knew of the cult's existence.

The bizarre inventory they carried with them to Australia included generators, ditch diggers, gas masks, lab equipment and chemicals — including hydrochloric acid transported in large glass bottles labelled "hand soap".