Thursday, Jul 31, 2014Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
Trial of City Harvest Church leaders resumes


Profiles of the six people

Name: Kong Hee

Who he is: Founder and senior pastor of City Harvest Church

Background: Pastor Kong founded the church with his wife Ho Yeow Sun in 1989. He is currently the senior pastor of the congregation, which numbers at over 23,000. Two years ago, the way he ran his church and used the funds raised came into question when the CAD launched a probe on the alleged misuse of church funds and financial transactions which involved 'several individuals and companies, related or connected' to the church.

Name: Chew Eng Han

Who he is: Church board member

Background: Mr Chew is a shareholder in the Business Breakthrough Group, which City Harvest started in 2003 as an 'outreach to the marketplace', according to the church website. In 2005, he was the key person behind City Harvest's move to Suntec Singapore.

Name: Sharon Tan Shao Yuen

Who she is: Finance manager with City Harvest Church

Background: Very little is known about her as she is usually not in the limelight.

Name: Tan Ye Peng

Who he is: Founding member and senior pastor of City Harvest Church

Background: Mr Tan has long been involved in community service. He is also the founder of City Care, a social enterprise related to the church.

Name: John Lam Leng Hung

Who he is: Former secretary of the church's management board

Background: Mr Lam had been involved with City Harvest church since the 1990s when he managed the church's renovation at its old premises at the former Hollywood cinema at Tanjong Katong Road in 1995. The project cost the church more than $1 million. He was quoted as saying then the church leaders believed that it was a good investment at the time.

Name: Serina Wee Gek Yin

Who she is: Former finance manager with City Harvest Church

Background: Ms Wee used to manage the church’s funds before starting her own business. It is uncertain if she still attends service at City Harvest Church but she was an active member for more than 10 years.

Confused about the City Harvest trial? ST's Feng Zengkun breaks it down.
SINGAPORE - City Harvest Church board members had backed the secular music career of Ms Ho Yeow Sun as a way to evangelise as far back as 2002, said one of the accused in the City Harvest trial on Monday as it resumed with the defence taking its turn.
SINGAPORE - City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee arrived at the State Courts on Monday morning as the high profile trial against him and his five deputies resumed.
City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and his five deputies will return to court today, as the highly watched criminal trial against them resumes.
The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) will not be taking action against the City Harvest Church pastor who was warned last week that two of his posts on Twitter scandalised the judiciary.
The AGC said the insinuations set out in the two tweets scandalise the Judiciary of Singapore.
SINGAPORE - Ex-City Harvest church investment manager Chew Eng Han, one of six church leaders accused of misusing millions of dollars of church funds, will represent himself for the remainder of the long-running trial.
SINGAPORE - The City Harvest Church trial resumed briefly on Wednesday as one of the defence lawyers asked the court to refer two questions of law to the High Court.
City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and five others will defend themselves when trial continues on July 14.
The prosecution in the City Harvest Church case mounted a stinging rebuttal yesterday as it sought to prove it had presented enough evidence for the trial to continue.
The trial against City Harvest founder Kong Hee and five others accused of misusing church funds resumed on Tuesday morning, with two defence lawyers claiming that the prosecution had not done enough to prove there was a case against their clients.
Prosecutors on Monday closed their case in the high-profile City Harvest Church trial, which has run for nine months and involved 14 witnesses so far.
The trial against six City Harvest Church figures for various counts of criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts was barely a two-hour affair on Friday.
Defence counsels for the City Harvest Six, on trial for various counts of criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts, on Thursday said their clients were simply acting on the instructions of audit firm Baker Tilly managing partner Sim Guan Seng.
Defence counsel Edwin Tong on Wednesday alluded that the prosecution's method of questioning Baker Tilly managing partner Sim Guan Seng amounted to a "piecemeal" approach.
City Harvest Church's $46.3 million eight-year rental lease agreement with music production firm Xtron puzzled the church's auditor, who on Tuesday said it "didn't make sense".
The auditor who repeatedly sounded alarm bells about church monies going to beleaguered music production firm Xtron explained his concerns on the witness stand Monday.
City Harvest Church trustee Tan Yew Meng was convinced by a good sales pitch that bond investments in beleaguered music production firm Xtron would be a sound move.
It was a reversal of roles in court on Thursday as defence lawyer Kannan Ramesh sought to show that an auditor had been "significantly troubled" by City Harvest Church's investment in bonds.


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The woman at the centre of the investigation

Name: Ho Yeow Sun, also known as Sun Ho

Who she is: Co-founder of City Harvest Church, and the wife of founder Kong Hee.

Background: Ho has been married to Kong Hee for 20 years. The couple told The New Paper in a report in 2010 that they 'got married first and then did the courting and romancing later'.

Ms Ho was a constant presence beside her husband when their church took off, and counselled troubled teens at City Harvest Community Services Association, a group she founded. She later resigned from her duties in the church in 2003 to become a singer, but continued to be involved in fund-raising activities for the church.

Ms Ho does charity work and was named Ambassador Of Love by the China Children's Foundation after donating 600,000 yuan (S$123,000) to help build schools in Beijing and Chongqing. The Chinese government designed a series of stamps featuring her to thank her for her donation, making her reportedly the first foreigner to be accorded the honour. In 2005, she opened a street wear boutique, SKIN Couture, at Marina Square. She later opened two more shops at The Heeren Shops and Great World City.

Ms Ho has been based largely in the United States since 2003 to pursue her music career. Since then, she has released several singles in the US including chart-topping dance numbers such as One With You, Without Love and Fancy Free, and living in a Los Angeles US$20,000-a-month property for at least a year.

Five of Ms Ho's English singles have made it into the top 10 of Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs, with four of them going on to clinch the top spot and the fifth making it to second place. Each single stayed on the charts for between 13 and 16 weeks.