Serina Wee released after serving 2½-year jail term for role in City Harvest case

Former City Harvest Church finance manager Serina Wee, accompanied by her husband Kenny Low, arriving at the State Courts to begin her jail term on April 21, 2017. Ms Wee was released from custody on Dec 21, 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE
Ms Serina Wee and her husband Kenny Low leaving the High Court on April 7, 2017. PHOTO: ST FILE
Ms Serina Wee is the third of six former City Harvest Church leaders to complete her sentence for misappropriating millions in church funds. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Ms Serina Wee, who was sentenced to 2½ years' jail for her role in the largest case of misuse of charitable funds in Singapore's history, has been released from prison.

The Singapore Prisons Service confirmed to The Straits Times on Friday (Dec 28) that the former City Harvest Church (CHC) finance manager, who started her sentence on April 21 last year, was released from custody on Dec 21.

Inmates are typically given one-third remission of their jail terms for good behaviour.

Her husband, Mr Kenny Low, declined comment when contacted about her release. The couple have three children.

During the marathon trial which started in 2013, Ms Wee, who turned 42 on Dec 14, often wore clothes from her fashion blogshop.

She is the third of six former CHC leaders to complete her sentence for misappropriating millions in church funds.

Ms Serina Wee often donned clothes from her fashion blogshop. PHOTO: ST FILE

Former finance manager Sharon Tan, 43, who was given seven months' jail, and former finance committee member John Lam, 50, who was given 1½ year's jail, had been released earlier.

The leaders had channelled $24 million from the church's building fund into sham bond investments to fund the pop career of founder-pastor Kong Hee's wife, Ms Ho Yeow Sun.

They then devised a series of "round-tripping" transactions to throw auditors off the track by misappropriating a further $26 million.

In 2015, the six - including Kong Hee, 54, deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, 46, and former fund manager Chew Eng Han, 58 - were given jail terms ranging from 21 months to eight years for criminal breach of trust.

On April 7 last year, the jail terms were slashed to between seven months and 3½ years, after a three-judge High Court ruled that they were guilty of a less serious form of criminal breach of trust.

Clockwise from top left: Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Serina Wee, John Lam, Sharon Tan and Chew Eng Han, on Feb 1, 2018. PHOTOS: ST FILE

Kong Hee's jail sentence was reduced from eight years to 3½ years.

All except Chew started serving their jail terms on April 21 last year.

On Feb 1 this year, a five-judge Court of Appeal upheld the reduced sentences in a landmark decision that hinged on the interpretation of provisions in the Penal Code governing criminal breach of trust offences.

Later that month, Chew was nabbed at sea, a day before he was to begin serving his jail term of three years and four months.

He was convicted earlier this month of attempting to leave Singapore illegally and attempting to defeat the course of justice.

Ms Wee and Mr Lam were struck off as members of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, the national accountancy body, on April 9 this year.

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