SINGAPORE - City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee has issued an apology to his church and the public, admitting that he had made "unwise decisions" in the past.
In a statement to the media on Wednesday (April 19) night, Kong, 52, said: "I am truly sorry...I am filled with grief and regret over my mistakes and I sincerely ask for your forgiveness."
He added that he is "at peace" with what is ahead and will start serving his jail term on Friday.
"I am extremely saddened by the prospect of having to leave my family and church, and yearn to see them again after serving my sentence," Kong said.
"However, I am ready to face what is to come with the peace and grace of God in my heart."
Kong, along with five other church leaders, were convicted in 2015 for misappropriating church funds amounting to $50 million.
He was initially handed an eight-year jail term, but that was reduced to 3½ years after a three-judge High Court bench allowed their appeal on April 7.
The prosecution has since applied for the case to be heard by the apex court.
In the statement, Kong also said he was thankful that the Court had found "there was never any sinister or malicious plan by any of the accused persons to strip the church of its funds".
He added: "I had acted in the church’s best interest, something which the Court also accepted, although I accept responsibility for the manner in which I had sought to bring the Crossover Project to fruition in using the building fund."
Read Kong's full statement below.