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Former City Harvest fund manager slapped with fresh charge

Former City Harvest Church fund manager Chew Eng Han. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
Former City Harvest Church fund manager Chew Eng Han. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

Additional reporting by Hannah Teoh

Former City Harvest Church fund manager Chew Eng Han was slapped with a fresh charge at the State Courts on Thursday (29 March) over his alleged attempt to flee Singapore to avoid his jail term.

According to media reports, the 57-year-old was charged with attempting to defeat the course of justice by allegedly trying to leave Singapore illegally on 21 February. The new charge carries a jail term of up to three and a half years along with a possible fine.

Chew, who was one of the six City Harvest leaders convicted for misusing church funds, is currently serving his jail term of three years and four months for criminal breach of trust. He was initially due to begin serving his sentence on 22 February but was arrested the day before after being found aboard a motorised sampan in the waters off Pulau Ubin.

Separately, the two men accused of helping Chew in his escape attempt also appeared in the State Courts on Thursday.

In the case against Tan Poh Teck, the 53-year-old boat pilot who was arrested along with Chew, the prosecution said it intends to proceed on only two of three three Immigration Act charges of abetting another to illegally leave the country.

Besides Chew, Tan allegedly helped two other men to leave Singapore by similar means in August and December last year. The pre-trial conference for his case will take place on 3 May.

Khoo Kea Leng being escorted by police officers back to the site where he allegedly met Chew Eng Han to discuss the latter’s escape plan. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
Khoo Kea Leng being escorted by police officers back to the site where he allegedly met Chew Eng Han to discuss the latter’s escape plan. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

Meanwhile, 45-year-old Khoo Kea Leng told the court he intends to plead guilty to his one charge of abetting Chew to leave Singapore illegally via an unauthorised place of departure and collecting $8,000 from him as payment.

Khoo, a Malaysian, had allegedly discussed with Chew the latter’s escape plan in mid-February while inside a car parked next to Block 75 Marine Drive. Khoo was arrested in Malaysia with the assistance of the Royal Malaysia Police and handed over to the Singapore Police Force on 26 February.

He will plead guilty when he next appears in court on 12 April. Those found guilty of abetting a person to leave Singapore illegally can be jailed for between six months and two years, and be fined up to $6,000.

Related stories:

Boatman in Chew Eng Han case faces new charge for helping another flee Singapore

Malaysian charged with taking $8,000 from Chew Eng Han to help him flee Singapore

City Harvest saga: Chew Eng Han and accomplice charged over failed attempt to leave Singapore

Jumping bail to be made an offence: K Shanmugam