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Singapore City Harvest Church Trial Verdict: Kong Hee's Wife Sun Ho Releases Statement After Six Church Leaders Found Guilty

( [email protected] ) Oct 21, 2015 03:25 AM EDT
Pastor Kong Hee's wife issued a statement on Singapore City Harvest Church's website shortly after the court verdict, urging the 17,000-member congregation to continue praying for Kong and the five other church leaders convicted of multi-million dollar fraud on Wednesday.
City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee (R) and his wife Sun Ho, also known as Ho Yeow Sun, arrive at the State Courts in Singapore October 21, 2015, where a verdict is expected to be delivered for their trial of misappropriating S$50 million ($42.5 million) of church funds and falsifying the church's accounts. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Pastor Kong Hee's wife, Ho Yeow Sun - better known as "Sun Ho" - issued a statement on Singapore City Harvest Church's website shortly after the court verdict, urging the 17,000-member congregation to continue praying for Kong and the five other church leaders convicted of multi-million dollar fraud on Wednesday.

"The judge has rendered his decision, and naturally, we are disappointed by the outcome," wrote Ho. "The protracted season has been extremely difficult, not just for the six, but also for their families and friends, as well as our congregation."

Kong, the co-founder of Singapore's megachurch, and five other church officials are studying the judges' decision and are taking legal advice from their respective lawyers. The convicted church leaders now face up to 20 years in prison.

In June 2012, Kong Hee and Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han, Serina Wee Gek Yin, John Lam Leng Hung and Sharon Tan Shao Yuen, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit criminal breach of trust for misusing over SGD$50 million ($37 million) of church money to advance the music career of Kong's wife, Ho.

"There is no doubt that they had something to hide ... They knew they were acting dishonestly," Judge See Kee Oon said in convicting the six in the Singapore subordinate court, according to Reuters.

Kong has denied participating in the embezzlement scheme and has said that the church support the Crossover project, which funds Ho's music career and aims at spreading the Gospel and increase City Harvest Church's presence. Ho has echoed that claim and has stood by her husband and CHC leadership throughout the trial.

While Ho, the co-founder and executive director of the church, was not charged in the case, her video from an English single, "China Wine", shows her dancing intimately with rapper Wyclef Jean, drawing widespread criticism and questions on whether her racy dancing style and dress are appropriate given her status as a pastor and her stated desire to spread Christianity.

Ho - better known as "Sun" in the music industry - served as the music pastor at the church. She left in 2003 to pursue a musical career, and she and Kong started the "Crossover Project," an initiative aimed at using Ho's secular music to reach out to non-Christians.

In her latest statement, Ho called the City Harvest Church members to "stay the course with CHC 2.0," a new church board and management that took over leadership since 2012, and reiterated Kong's recent call for the church to "focus on the core values and serve the purpose of God with greater effectiveness and sustainability."

"God is making us stronger, purer and more mature as a congregation," she wrote, thanking the congregation for their support and their faith in God. "More than ever before, let's have a unity that is unbreakable."

She quotes Job 23:10, "God knows the way that we take; when He has tested us, we shall come forth as gold."

"Pastor Kong and I are humbled by the tremendous outpouring of love and support shown to us during this time," she wrote, concluding with a request to continue to pray for Kong Hee and the five other church leaders.

City Harvest Church, which had around 17,000 members last year, has largely stuck by its leader. According to Reuters, it held a prayer meeting for the church leaders on Tuesday night.  

"More than ever before, let's have a unity that is unbreakable," she wrote.