SINGAPORE - A Malaysian freelance driver was given six months' jail on Thursday (April 12) for helping former City Harvest Church (CHC) leader Chew Eng Han, 57, in his alleged escape bid on Feb 20.
Khoo Kea Leng, 45, had pleaded guilty to engaging in a conspiracy with Chew to help him leave Singapore from an unauthorised point of departure.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Vincent Ong said that the two men first met in October 2017 and Chew asked Khoo if he could transport him illegally to Johor Baru.
Khoo declined but volunteered to check with a friend's uncle from Malaysia who might be able to do so. Khoo then asked the former church leader for a pre-payment and was given $200 before the pair parted ways.
DPP Ong said: "The day after they met, the accused told Chew that he could arrange for Chew to leave Singapore with Chew hiding in the boot of a car and quoted a sum of $18,000 for the arrangement. Chew declined the proposal as it was too expensive but continued to remain in contact with the accused."
Chew called Khoo again on Feb 20 with the same request. This time, Khoo contacted his Malaysian friend, Tan Kim Ho, 42, also known as Rayson, who replied that he knew somebody who could perform the task.
Khoo relayed this information to Chew and they agreed on a price of $12,000. This amount would be equally divided between Khoo, the boatman and Tan Kim Ho, who is still at large.
Chew met Khoo later that day near Block 75 Marine Drive and gave him $8,000. Khoo then told him to hand the remaining $4,000 to the boatman who would take him to Malaysia.
Khoo went to Johor Baru following this meeting and passed Tan Kim Ho $4,000.
At around 10pm that day, Singaporean fish farm owner Tan Poh Teck, 53, received a call from a man known only 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 the former CHC leader would board Lao Bai's boat for Malaysia. Tan Poh Teck was also promised a $1,000 reward.
At around 7am on Feb 21, Chew's older brother picked up the former church leader from his home and took him to Changi Village where they parted ways.
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 eastwards when Police Coast Guard officers caught them just minutes later.
Chew was charged on Feb 22 with leaving Singapore for Malaysia from the jetty, which is not an authorised point of departure. On March 1, he started serving 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 the cases involving Chew and Tan Poh Teck will take place on May 3. Chew's older brother, Chew Eng Soon, 61, has not been charged in court.