Five out of six City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders surrendered themselves at the State Courts on Friday morning (21 April). They will be transported to prison to start their jail terms, ranging from seven months to three and a half years.
The former leaders were convicted in 2015 after a 140-day trial for misappropriating S$50 million of church funds and were initially sentenced to jail terms between 21 months and eight years.
The High Court has reduced the sentences of all six former leaders on Friday (7 April) in favour of their appeal.
The founder and senior pastor Kong Hee has had his prison sentence reduced to three years and six months from eight years.
As for the others that were charged, former fund manager Chew Eng Han had his six-year sentence reduced to three years and four months, deputy pastor Tan Ye Peng’s sentence was lowered from five-and-a-half-year sentence to three years and two months, former finance manager Serina Wee Gek Yin’s sentence got reduce from five-year sentence to two years and six months, former finance committee member John Lam Leng Hung got a reduced sentence from three-year sentence to one year and six months, and former finance manager Sharon Tan Shao Yuen got her sentence lowered from 21-month jail sentence to seven months.
In court, Kong, Lam, Chew, Wee and Tan Ye asked the court to have their sentences to start in two weeks after the sentencing so they can still celebrate Easter day with their families. The court agreed to this.
Sharon, on the other hand, asked for two months deferment as her family is moving to the United States. She wants to be able to help her child adjust to the new environment. The court also agreed to her request.
However, she changed her mind and applied to start her seven-month sentence alongside the rest.
Meanwhile, Chew has requested to stay his sentence until a Court of Appeal case to clarify the law under which he and five other church leaders were convicted is over.
On Wednesday (19 April), the court stated that The Court of Appeal’s decision will take at least seven months and Chew asked to start his three-year-and-four-month sentence after that. His request was granted by the High Court.
Kong posted a statement on his Facebook page on Wednesday (19 April), saying that although he is saddened that his conviction was not set aside for the appeal, he is very grateful that the High Court has granted him a fair hearing, and has allowed his appeal and reduced the sentence.
At the end of his post, Kong said that he is truly sorry as he had made unwise decisions in the past.