City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee sorry for ‘unwise decisions’, begins jail term 21 April

City Harvest Church pastor Kong Hee leaves the High Court on 8 April. Photo: Yahoo Singapore

City Harvest Church (CHC) founding pastor Kong Hee posted an apology on Wednesday evening (19 April) saying he was “truly sorry” for his “unwise decisions”.

In his statement, Kong apologised to his congregation and to the wider public, saying he was “filled with grief and regret”.

“To all I have disappointed, stumbled and hurt in my congregation, in the Body of Christ at large, and in the public, I am truly sorry. I have made unwise decisions in the past that have led me to where I am today. I am filled with grief and regret over my mistakes and I sincerely ask for your forgiveness,” he said.

Kong said he had come to terms with what is ahead and is “at peace”. He and four others will begin serving their jail sentences on 21 April. Chew Eng Han requested and was granted a deferment on his jail term after indicating that he wanted to file a criminal reference for his case.

On 7 April, the High Court cut the jail terms of six CHC leaders found guilty of misappropriating $50 million in church funds to fund Kong’s wife’s pop music career.

Judges reduced the jail terms of Kong to three years and six months from eight years; Deputy Senior Pastor Tan Ye Peng to three years and two months from five years and six months; former board member John Lam to one year and six months from three years; former fund manager Chew Eng Han to three years and four months from six years; former finance manager Serina Wee to two years and six months from five years; and Wee’s successor, former finance manager Sharon Tan to seven months from 21 months.

The six had their sentences reduced based on a lesser CBT charge after two of the three High Court judges ruled that the CHC leaders had not acted as “agents” in their professional capacity.

Kong added in his statement that he was “thankful that the Court has found that there was never any sinister or malicious plan by any of the accused persons to strip the church of its funds”.

He said, “I had acted in the church’s best interest, something which the Court also accepted, although I accept responsibility for the manner in which I had sought to bring the Crossover Project to fruition in using the building fund.”

The Attorney-General’s Chamber (AGC) has filed a criminal reference to refer certain questions of law to the Court of Appeal and is seeking to reinstate the original sentences of the six convicted CHC leaders.

Referring to the criminal reference, Kong said, “I have consulted with my lawyers on this, and will leave the legal question to be resolved by the Court. My future is, as always, in God’s hands.”