The first morning of the resumed City Harvest trial saw congregation members gather again in force at the crack of dawn at the Subordinate Courts to show their support.
By 7am on Monday, a steadily growing queue of more than 50 people had formed. The earliest of the arrivals had come at about 4am. They stood or sat quietly in groups of two and three, some reading up on previous media reports.
One young church member, who wished to remain anonymous, said that he had come as this "was a big case. A big case for us, a big case for Singapore." When asked if he had come to show his support for the accused, he said: "I wouldn't say that."
Property agent Eric Tan, 67, had taken time off from work and woken at 5am to snag himself a place in the public gallery, which seats about 100 people over two sessions. He said he intended to attend the trial as often as he could, up to three times a week.
"We need to stand for the church, and for the pastor. And pray for them during the trial," he said.
Six church leaders, including founder Kong Hee, were charged last year with misusing $24 million in church monies to fund the pop music career of Kong's wife Sun Ho. It is alleged that they took another $26 million to cover up the first amount.