City Harvest Church Pastor Kong Hee ‘at Peace’ as He Starts Jail Term on April 21

Kong Hee, the senior pastor and foudner of Singapore-based City Harvest Church, will start his jail term on Friday, April 21. He said he is ready to face it with peace in his heart.
City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee (R) and his wife Sun Ho, also known as Ho Yeow Sun, arrive at the State Courts in Singapore. Reuters/Edgar Su

Kong Hee, the senior pastor and founder of Singapore-based City Harvest Church, will start his jail term on Friday, April 21.

On a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday, Kong said he is facing the beginning of his jail term "with peace."

"I have come to terms with what is ahead and am at peace," he wrote.

"I am ready to face what is to come with the peace and grace of God in my heart," he said.

The pastor also asked the church's forgiveness for his "unwise decisions" and took responsibility for the use of the church building fund for the controversial Crossover Project, which was established to spread the gospel through the music of Kong's wife Sun Ho.

"I accept responsibility for the manner in which I had sought to bring the Crossover Project to fruition in using the building fund," he said.

Kong was convicted of three counts of criminal breach of trust. He and five other leaders of CHC were found guilty of misappropriating about S$50 million (US$8 million) in church funds. They funneled S$24 million into sham bonds to support Sun Ho's singing career and used S$26 million more to cover it up.

In 2015, the High Court sentenced Kong to eight years in prison, but after he filed an appeal, the Court reduced his prison term to three and a half years.

When the verdict was announced earlier this month, he took some time to reflect on what he faced. He also spent most of the past few weeks with his family.

"I am extremely saddened by the prospect of having to leave my family and church, and yearn to see them again after serving my sentence," he wrote.

Kong thanked those who supported him and apologized once more to "all I have disappointed, stumbled and hurt in my congregation, in the Body of Christ at large, and in the public."

Although Kong is about to start jail term, the case is far from over. The prosecution has referred the case to the Court of Appeal after the High Court reduced the CHC leaders' verdict.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said the prosecution would look into one aspect of the case that was not brought up during the trial, which deals with "any gain to third parties for its case on conviction and sentence, even though this may have been suggested in the charges." This could possibly involve Kong's wife Sun Ho.

The CHC trial has been dubbed as the most expensive criminal trial in Singapore. Lawyers' fees have been estimated at $10 million. With the prosecution forwarding the case to the Court of Appeal, that amount could go higher, according to The Straits Times.

The church has been barred by the Commissioner of Charities from paying or raising funds to cover the legal fees. CHC employees are also prohibited from raising funds for this purpose.

Tags : Kong Hee, Kong Hee jail term, Kong Hee starts jail term, Sun Ho, City Harvest Church, city harvest church singapore, chc trial, Kong Hee misappropriation of church funds, Singapore, K. Shanmugam, Crossover Project