City Harvest Church (CHC) founder Kong Hee was released from prison this morning, a day before his 55th birthday.
He and five other former CHC leaders were convicted in 2015 of misappropriation of church funds.
He was originally sentenced to eight years in jail but in April 2017 the Court of Appeal reduced the sentence to three and a half years. He started his jail term on April 21, 2017.
The high-profile case saw the former church leaders convicted of misusing S$24 million (RM72.5 million) of church building funds on sham bonds between 2007 and 2009, mainly to further the pop music career of church co-founder and Kong’s wife Ho Yeow Sun.
Another S$26.6 million was misused to cover up the first amount.
As Kong left Changi Prison today, a black car was waiting outside. Kong, who was smiling as he walked out, declined to speak to reporters and left in the car immediately.
Kong’s release was announced to CHC members in a message on the church’s website.
The message, from CHC’s board and senior management team, said that while in prison, Kong “spent most of his time seeking and studying the things of God”.
“Your letters brought him comfort and joy,” the message said.
Kong will be “taking a period to spend time with his family, especially his elderly parents”, it added. — TODAY