Relaymedia

Pastor Kong Hee Sentenced To 8 Years in Prison, Admits He Will Face 'Very Difficult Days Ahead'

( [email protected] ) Nov 20, 2015 03:36 PM EST
City Harvest Church pastor Kong Hee has said he is "saddened" after being sentenced to 8 years in prison for misusing church finances to fund the music career of his wife, fellow CHC pastor Sun Ho, but has not yet decided if he will appeal.
Kong Hee leaving the State Courts with his Lawyers. Straits Times/ WONG KWAI CHOW

City Harvest Church pastor Kong Hee has said he is "saddened" after being sentenced to 8 years in prison for misusing church finances to fund the music career of his wife, fellow CHC pastor Sun Ho, but has not yet decided if he will appeal.

In a Facebook post shared on Friday, Kong wrote, "Today, the protracted five and a half years of investigation and court trial have finally come to an end. I thank the Lord that His grace has been more than sufficient for me during this extremely trying time. I am also eternally grateful to the many church members and wonderful friends, both local and abroad, who have been standing with me in prayer and moral support. Your love continues to uphold me daily."

He added that with the close of the trial, "this season of pain and turmoil for City Harvest Church should soon come to an end."

"As a spiritual family, we have all learned many valuable lessons of life. Moving forward, these lessons will make us better Christians and a stronger church," the pastor continued.

"Unfortunately, I must continue to face some very difficult days ahead. This afternoon, the sentence has been passed, and naturally I am saddened by the length of it. I am presently studying the judgement and sentence carefully with my lawyers, and will make a meaningful decision whether to appeal in due course."

Kong closed his message by asking for continued prayers from his church: "I love and appreciate you so much. Thank you for loving me and my family."

According to a report from the BBC, Kong, who founded the megachurch in 1989, and five other church leaders were found guilty of misusing $50 million in church funds in October - $24 million of which was used to bankroll the music career of Sun Ho.

On Friday, the 51-year-old pastor was sentenced to eight years in jail, while the five others accused were sentenced to between 21 months and six years each.

The news report notes that before sentencing, state prosecutors said it was "the largest amount of charity funds ever misappropriated in Singapore's legal history".

However, all accused have continued to deny any wrongdoing, and the church had supported them during the trial.

In an update shared on the CHC website on Friday afternoon, church pastors Aries Zulkarnain, Bobby Chaw and Sun Ho revealed that all six have asked for the start of their sentences to be deferred to after Christmas.

"The judge has agreed to this, setting the date at 11 January 2016," the update reveals. "All six also told the court that they are still contemplating appealing against the convictions and/or sentences. Bail has been extended for all six."

The update goes on to thank CHC members for demonstrating "strength and unity, particularly in the final months of the long-running trial.

'We ask you to remember and hold close to your heart the call of God upon City Harvest Church. We have learned lately what it means to have faith, trust and rest in God-let us put what we have learned to practice. Let's band together to fulfill the heavenly calling for us through CHC 2.0," the update continues.

"Let us continue to pray for the six and their families as they prepare for this next step in the legal process. May God grant them grace and the peace that surpasses understanding."

Tags : Kong Hee, Sun Ho, City Harvest Church, Singapore Megachurch, prosperity gospel, Trial Verdict, Sentence, Guilty Verdict, Crossover Project, Christian Mission