City Harvest case: Appeal hearings set for September before a three-judge panel

Kong Hee (centre) founder and senior pastor of the City Harvest Church (CHC), leaving the State Courts with his lawyers on Nov 20, 2015.
Kong Hee (centre) founder and senior pastor of the City Harvest Church (CHC), leaving the State Courts with his lawyers on Nov 20, 2015.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - The appeal hearings for the six City Harvest Church leaders have been set for Sept 19 to Sept 23. This was decided during a pre-trial conference on Monday (Jan 25), parties confirmed with The Straits Times.

The appeals will be heard before a three-judge panel, tentatively comprising Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin, Justice Woo Bih Li and Justice Chan Seng Onn.

Last October, the six accused - church founder Kong Hee, 51; deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, 43; former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han, 55; former CHC finance managers Serina Wee, 39, and Sharon Tan, 40; and former CHC finance committee member John Lam, 47 - were found guilty of misusing around $50 million in church funds after a trial that stretched more than two years.

The church leaders were convicted of using church funds to further the music career of pastor-singer Ho Yeow Sun, Kong's wife. This was allegedly done by funnelling $24 million into sham bonds to bankroll Ms Ho's career. The accused then misused a further $26 million to cover their tracks.

All six were handed jail terms of between 21 months and eight years. Kong got the heaviest sentence as the alleged mastermind of Singapore's largest charity financial scandal.

The prosecution, which called the sentences "manifestly inadequate" after asking for jail terms ranging from five to 12 years, is also appealing.