This combination photo shows City Harvest Church's members arriving at the State Courts in Singapore. File picture: Edgar Su/Reuters
This combination photo shows City Harvest Church's members arriving at the State Courts in Singapore. File picture: Edgar Su/Reuters

Singapore orders ex-church leader to serve prison term for fraud

By Time of article published Feb 27, 2018

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Singapore - A Singaporean man involved in a multi-million

dollar church fraud scandal and who tried to escape prison by fleeing

in a boat was Tuesday ordered to start serving his sentence this

week, local media reported.

In an urgent hearing court hearing, the five-judge Court of Appeal

ruled that Chew Eng Han, an ex-fund manager for the City Harvest

Church, would start serving his jail sentence on Thursday.

That is provided no further remands for his assistance in the

investigation into his escape attempt are ordered, the Straits Times

reported.

Chew, alongside five other church leaders, was found guilty in 2015

of misusing 50 million dollars of church funds to promote the singing

career of the wife of the church's founder.

Chew had been sentenced to three years and four months' imprisonment

for his role, and was due to begin serving his sentence last

Thursday. 

However, he was arrested around 2 kilometres off shore by the police

coast guard on Wednesday along with another man as they attempted to

flee on a motorized sampan with about 5 000 Singapore dollars in cash

and fishing equipment.

Police said they appeared to have been attempting to depart Singapore

illegally for Malaysia.

The arrest was the latest chapter in a saga that has gripped the

nation state for the last five years.

A prosecution appeal to reinstate longer jail sentences for the

accused after their jail terms were cut almost in half by the High

Court in 2017 was rejected by the court earlier this year,

drawing public criticism and a government pledge to amend a law that

allowed for shorter sentences. 

dpa

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