Tan Ye Peng, one of the six City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders who was imprisoned in the biggest case of misappropriation of charitable funds in the history of Singapore, has been released from jail.
CHC founder Kong Hee and his group of church leaders were found guilty of misusing about S$50 million of church funds, in October 2015. The leaders had poured a hefty S$24 million that had been taken from the megachurch’s building fund into sham bond investments to propel the pop career of Kong Hee’s pastor-turned-pop singer wife, Sun Ho.
The leaders also tried to mislead auditors by organising a series of “round-tipping” and misappropriated another S$26 million. The leaders were subsequently caught and charged with criminal breach of trust (CBT).
Kong Hee and group were first sentenced to longer jail terms, between 21 months to eight years, but the three-judge panel at the High Court halved the group’s jail terms after it heard a five-day appeal in court, in 2017.
In 2018, the Court of Appeal – Singapore’s apex court – dismissed a bid by prosecutors to reinstate the original sentences of the church leaders, which would have required the group to serve longer jail terms, if granted.
The Government later said that it believes the CHC sentences are too low and that it will move to ensure legislation allows for higher penalties for senior officers who commit CBT.
Tan, who was sentenced to three years and two months in jail for his role in the saga, started serving his sentence on 21 Apr 2017. He was released on 1 June 2019 after he was granted a remission of one-third of his jail term for good behaviour.
He is the fourth of six CHC leaders to have been released. Other former CHC leaders who were released earlier include Sharon Tan, John Lam and Serina Wee. Kong Hee and another ex-leader, Chew Eng Han, remain in prison.
Kong Hee, who received the longest sentence among the six, could be released as early as August if he is granted remission, as well.
Chew Eng Han, who tried to flee Singapore a day before he was due to serve time in jail, was given an additional jail term of one year and one month.