SINGAPORE - City Harvest Church (CHC) founder Kong Hee choked up a few times on the stand on Thursday as he told the court how investigations into financial irregularities at the church had affected his young son.
The pastor and five others are on trial for allegedly misusing church funds to boost the music career of his wife Ho Yeow Sun and falsifying church accounts to cover the misuse. "The whole investigation was shocking and traumatic for my little boy," he said of his son Dayan, who was 5 1/2 years old when the Commercial Affairs Department started probing the church's financial affairs in 2010.
Kong said his son started to have panic attacks and was "hyperventilating on most days". He and his wife had to bring the boy to see a psychiatrist, he said.
Kong spoke about his son after being asked by his lawyer Edwin Tong to explain why Ms Ho did not return to the United States to complete her album after the investigations started. Earlier in the trial, co-accused and former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han had questioned why Kong had not sent Ms Ho back to the US to minimise losses to the church. "Dayan needed his mum to be around," Kong said.
The boy attended a Christian school and Kong said that the "young and innocent" children asked his son: "Is your Dad in jail already?"
He said his son had also asked him: "Dad, why were all the teachers and adults in school talking about you?"