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Prisca Ang, Theresa Tan
The Straits Times
August 22, 2019
City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee was released from jail on Thursday (Aug 22) after serving time for his role in misusing millions of dollars in church funds.
In a statement on the church's website, its board and senior management said that Mr Kong will be "taking a period to spend time with his family, especially his elderly parents".
While in jail, he spent most of his time seeking and studying the things of God, the statement said.
Mr Kong also thanked church members for all their prayers for him and his family.
"Your letters brought him comfort and joy," said the statement, urging members to continue to keep Mr Kong, his wife Ho Yeow Sun, son Dayan, and parents in prayer.
Mr Kong's release came one day before he turned 55.
His sentence was the longest among six church leaders who were involved in misappropriating $50 million in church funds, in the largest case of misuse of charity funds in Singapore’s history.
His sentence had been reduced from eight years' jail to 3½ years upon appeal.
The rest of the leaders also had their terms shortened.
The other five are: Former deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, former finance managers Serina Wee and Sharon Tan, former finance committee member John Lam and former fund manager Chew Eng Han.
The six of them were originally charged and convicted of criminal breach of trust as agents under Section 409 of the Penal Code in 2015 after a 140-day trial.
They were handed jail terms ranging from 21 months to eight years.
Mr Kong was released about two years and four months after he began his jail term. Inmates are usually given one-third remission on their sentence for good behaviour.