Jail for two men linked to ex-City Harvest Church leader Chew Eng Han's alleged escape bid

Tan Poh Teck was sentenced to 27 weeks' jail and ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on July 16.
Tan Poh Teck was sentenced to 27 weeks' jail and ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on July 16. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Two more men linked to former City Harvest Church leader Chew Eng Han's alleged escape bid in February have been sentenced to jail.

On Friday (July 13), Singaporean fish farm owner Tan Poh Teck, 53, was given 27 weeks' jail while Malaysian private tour guide Tan Kim Ho, 42, was handed a six-month sentence.

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.

Malaysian freelance driver Khoo Kea Leng, 45, was earlier jailed for six months on April 12 for helping Chew in his alleged Feb 21 escape bid.

On Friday, the court heard that in October last year, Chew got to know Khoo and asked him if he could send him to Johor Baru illegally. Khoo then offered to check with a friend's uncle from Malaysia who might be able to do so.

Chew called Khoo again on Feb 20 with the same request. In turn, 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 to help Chew leave Singapore illegally.

 
 

Half of this amount would be given to Uncle Shun before the trip, with the remainder handed over after Chew completed the journey. For his role, Tan Kim Ho was promised RM1,000 (S$337) from Uncle Shun.

The tour guide then told Khoo about the plan to leave Singapore illegally by boat. Khoo alerted Chew and they agreed on a price of $12,000, to be divided equally among Khoo, Tan Kim Ho and a boatman.

Chew met Khoo later that day near Block 75 Marine Drive and gave him $8,000. Khoo then went to Johor Baru to to hand over $4,000 to Tan Kim Ho and Uncle Shun.

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

At around 7am on Feb 21, Chew's older brother picked him up from his home and took him to Changi Village. Tan Poh Teck then phoned Chew and asked him to meet at Pulau Ubin instead as police craft had been spotted patrolling the area.

Chew took a bumboat to the island 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 of three years and four months for his role in the misuse of millions of dollars in church funds. The pre-trial conference for his current case will be on July 19.

Tan Poh Teck has two other unrelated similar charges which were considered during sentencing. They involved Singaporeans Shanker Maghalingam, 31, and Goh Chun Kiat, 40, whose cases are still pending.

Tan Poh Teck is out on $25,000 bail to settle some personal matters. He was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on July 16. Chew's brother has not been charged in court.