Australia

Mental health assessment for teen accused of fatal stabbing at Sydney Scientology church

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Police are expected to charge a teenager after a Taiwanese national and Church of Scientology member was fatally stabbed in the church headquarters in Sydney.

A teenager undergoing a mental health assessment in a Sydney hospital is expected to be charged after a 24-year-old Church of Scientology member was fatally stabbed at the organisation's Australasian headquarters.

The Taiwanese national, described as a "beloved" member of the church, was stabbed in the neck while escorting a 16-year-old boy out of the Scientology headquarters in Chatswood on Thursday and later died in hospital.

Emergency services were called to the religious centre on Greville Street in Chatswood after 12.30pm on Thursday, following reports of a stabbing.

Police said the teen, who is related to a member of the church, was being escorted off the premises by the men following a domestic dispute a day earlier.

NSW Police at the scene of a double stabbing at the Church of Scientology headquarters at Chatswood in Sydney, Thursday, January 3, 2019. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING
Police say the alleged stabbing occurred as the man was being escorted off the property in Sydney's north.
AAP

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Jones said police allege the teen produced a sharp, 25cm long kitchen knife as he was escorted down the church's driveway.

The 16-year-old male allegedly used the knife to stab the Taiwanese male in the neck and caused lacerations to an older man who was escorting him from the premises, Chief Inspector Jones said.

Police officers arrested the teenager after drawing their stun guns as ambulance and fire crew arrived on the scene.

Chief Inspector Jones said the assailant was of "Asian descent". News footage showed him being led away by police with his cuffed hands inside evidence bags.

The two injured men - who police described as Scientology employees - were taken to Royal North Shore Hospital.

The 24-year-old died at the hospital. The other man, aged 30, is in a stable condition.

"The victim was a beloved member of our church (and) the church is providing the police with any assistance needed in their investigation," a Scientology spokesperson said in a statement. 

The teenager was undergoing a mental health assessment in Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital on Friday morning, and expected to be charged later by police.

Chief Inspector Jones said the 16-year-old did not live at the facility but did have family members attending the church.

"All I can tell you, it was a domestic incident. It does not relate to the Scientology premises here," he told reporters on Thursday.

Scientology
The Church of Scientology in Chatswood, Sydney, is spread over almost 13,500 square metres, the largest branch outside the United States.

The Chatswood Scientology Centre, known as the Advanced Organization and Saint Hill ANZO, was opened in September 2016.

The massive 13,500 square metre building is the largest Scientology centre outside the United States.

The site formerly housed the National Acoustic Laboratory and was purchased by the church for a reported $37 million in 2014.

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