Ex-City Harvest leader's brother out on bail

The brother of former City Harvest Church leader Chew Eng Han was released on bail yesterday afternoon.

Police arrested Chew Eng Soon, 61, on Wednesday for abetting Chew Eng Han in leaving Singapore unlawfully.

Chew Eng Han, 57, was charged on Thursday with leaving Singapore unlawfully, a day after his alleged escape attempt by boat was foiled. The former church fund manager was nabbed at sea on Wednesday morning.

Chew was due to begin his jail term of three years and four months on Thursday for his role in the City Harvest Church saga, the largest case of misuse of charitable funds in Singapore's history.

But he was arrested along with the boatman, Tan Poh Teck, at 8.47am on Wednesday off Pulau Ubin on a motorised boat.

On Thursday, Tan, 53, was charged with abetting Chew to leave Singapore unlawfully by conveying him on the motorised boat from Pulau Ubin Jetty - not an authorised place of embarkation, departing point or point of departure - with the intention of taking him to Malaysia.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Zhongshan said Chew and Tan each faced a holding charge under the Immigration Act. He asked that the duo be remanded at Central Police Division for investigation.

Five other City Harvest Church leaders - including founder-pastor Kong Hee - who were convicted of misusing church funds, began serving their sentences last April. Chew, who was out on $1 million bail, had secured multiple deferments.

After his jail term - which was reduced from six years by the High Court in April last year - was upheld by the Court of Appeal on Feb 1, Chew had asked to defer his sentence until after Chinese New Year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2018, with the headline 'Ex-City Harvest leader's brother out on bail'. Print Edition | Subscribe