Duo jailed for aiding ex-CHC leader in alleged escape bid

In February, Singaporean fish farm owner Tan Poh Teck was helping to transport former City Harvest Church leader Chew Eng Han by boat to the waters off Pulau Ubin, and they were travelling east when Police Coast Guard officers caught them just minute
In February, Singaporean fish farm owner Tan Poh Teck was helping to transport former City Harvest Church leader Chew Eng Han by boat to the waters off Pulau Ubin, and they were travelling east when Police Coast Guard officers caught them just minutes later.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Singaporean to serve 27-week term, while Malaysian gets six-month sentence

Another two men who helped in the alleged escape bid of former City Harvest Church leader Chew Eng Han in February, were sentenced to jail yesterday.

Singaporean fish farm owner Tan Poh Teck, 53, was sentenced to a 27-week jail term, while Malaysian private tour guide Tan Kim Ho, 42, was given six months.

Each man pleaded guilty to one count of abetting Chew, 58, to leave Singapore from Pulau Ubin jetty, which is an unauthorised point of departure.

In April, a six-month jail term was slapped on Malaysian freelance driver Khoo Kea Leng, 45, for helping Chew in his alleged bid to escape on Feb 21.

Chew boarded a boat that day and left for Malaysia in an alleged attempt to escape his jail term of three years and four months, which he was supposed to start serving from Feb 22. The sentence was for his role in the misuse of more than $50 million in church funds.

The court heard yesterday that in October last year, Chew became acquainted with Khoo and asked him if he could send him to Johor Baru illegally.

Khoo contacted Tan Kim Ho, who said one of his customers known only as Uncle Shun might be able to perform the task.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Sng said Uncle Shun then quoted a price of $8,000 initially for the trip. Half was to be given to him before the trip and the remainderafter Chew completed the journey.

For his role, Tan Kim Ho was promised RM1,000 (S$340) from Uncle Shun. They eventually agreed on a price of $12,000 to be divided equally among Khoo, Tan Kim Ho and a boatman.

On Feb 20, Chew met Khoo near Marine Drive and gave him $8,000. Khoo then went to Johor Baru to hand over $4,000 to Tan Kim Ho and Uncle Shun.

At about 10pm, Tan Poh Teck received a call from a man known as Lao Bai, who told him to transport Chew to the waters off Pulau Ubin. Chew would then board Lao Bai's boat for Malaysia. The fish farm owner was promised $1,000.

At about 7am on Feb 21, Chew's older brother picked him up from his home and took him to Changi Village. He took a bumboat to Pulau Ubin before boarding Tan Poh Teck's boat from its main jetty. The pair were travelling east when Police Coast Guard officers caught them just minutes later.

Chew was charged on Feb 22 with leaving Singapore for Malaysia from an unauthorised point of departure.

On March 1, he began his jail term for criminal breach of trust. The pre-trial conference for his current case will be held next Thursday.

Tan Poh Teck is out on $25,000 bail to settle personal matters. He was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts next Monday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2018, with the headline 'Duo jailed for aiding ex-CHC leader in alleged escape bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe