City Harvest trial: First witness called is Xtron director and long-time church member

The high-profile criminal trial involving City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and five of his deputies resumed on Monday with its fourth witness, Mr Choong Kar Weng.

Mr Choong is the current director of Xtron Productions, a music production house and one of two companies that allegedly helped to funnel church funds to bankroll Kong's pastor-singer wife Ho Yeow Sun's singing career. He became Xtron director in 2005.

Mr Choong, a Malaysian citizen and Singapore PR, said he was invited to take up the Xtron directorship by Kong, even though the megachurch founder did not hold any appointments in the company. "Ultimately the directors and shareholders of Xtron had to approve my directorship, but Xtron and City Harvest were working very closely at the time to pursue a piece of land, so I assumed it was quite normal for them to discuss these matters," he said. Mr Choong added that he joined the church in 1995 and was its board member for about five years from 1999 to 2004. He is now also a director of company Attributes, which handles the City Harvest Church's bookstore.

Kong and the five other church leaders were charged last year with conspiring to cheat the megachurch of millions of dollars. They allegedly misused $24 million of church funds to bankroll Ms Ho's singing ambitions, and purportedly took another $26 million to cover up the first amount.