Malaysian arrested for abetting Chew's alleged attempt to leave Singapore

Chew Eng Han was charged last Thursday with leaving Singapore unlawfully.
Chew Eng Han was charged last Thursday with leaving Singapore unlawfully.

A 45-year-old Malaysian man has been arrested for his role in former City Harvest Church fund manager Chew Eng Han's alleged attempt to leave Singapore unlawfully last week.

Khoo Kea Leng was arrested in Malaysia with the assistance of the Royal Malaysia Police following a warrant of arrest issued by the Singapore State Courts, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a statement yesterday.

He was handed over to SPF's custody yesterday.

The Straits Times understands that he was arrested in Johor Baru. Khoo allegedly accepted money from Chew, 57, to help him make arrangements to leave Singapore. They are understood to have met in Singapore to discuss Chew's alleged escape attempt.

Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Hsu Sin Yun, Commander of the Police Coast Guard, thanked the Royal Malaysia Police for "their swift efforts in locating and arresting the suspect".

"The arrest would not have been possible without the close collaboration and strong relationship between the SPF and the Royal Malaysia Police," he said.

"The SPF will spare no efforts to hunt down criminals who commit crimes in Singapore. We will work with our foreign law enforcement partners to bring these criminals to justice."

The former City Harvest leader, who was convicted of misusing church funds, was nabbed at sea on board a motorised sampan last Wednesday at 8.47am, along with 53-year-old Tan Poh Teck. Chew was found with about $5,000 in cash and fishing equipment.

He was due to begin his jail term of three years and four months the following day.

The father of two children, aged 17 and 27, was charged last Thursday with leaving Singapore unlawfully.

That same day, Tan was charged with abetting Chew to leave Singapore unlawfully by allegedly 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.

Chew's brother, Chew Eng Soon, 61, was also arrested last Wednesday for allegedly abetting his brother in leaving Singapore unlawfully.

The older Chew was released on bail last Friday afternoon.

Chew Eng Han and Tan each face a holding charge under the Immigration Act. The duo are remanded at Central Police Division for investigation.

Chew's 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2018, with the headline 'Malaysian arrested for abetting Chew's alleged attempt to leave S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe