City Harvest Church: Prosecution makes case against Chew Eng Han for his escape plan

City Harvest Church case
City Harvest Church case Reuters & Pixabay

The prosecution made the case against the convict of City Harvest Church case, Chew Eng Han on Monday for his alleged attempt to flee Singapore.

The 58-year-old Chew, who is currently serving three years and four months of the jail sentence for his role in City Harvest Church saga, had claimed trial for two charges that include attempting to flee Singapore illegally and attempting to defeat the course of justice. He is one of those six former church leader, who was involved in misappropriating S$50 million.

On Monday, when Deputy Public Prosecutors Christopher Ong and Eugene Sng presented their case, Chew was sitting in the dock while wearing his purple inmate's outfit. The prosecution called their witnesses to testify the facts.

Police Coast Guard (PCG) vessels that intercepted Chew's boat, before the illegal embarkation and the police investigation officers in charge of Chew's case were asked to provide the evidence against the former leader of City Harvest Church.

Inspector Lam told the court that on February 21, a day before Chew was to start his jail term, he was informed that an unknown individual would be attempting to leave the country illegally. He also had the boat number and the name of Chew's assistance Tan Poh Teck but initially, he was told that the embarkation will take place at Changi.

However, he stated that when he came to know that the escape attempt would be from Pulau Ubin, he spotted Chew's boat and shouted. He told the court that the passengers of the sampan were not responding to him and were looking straight, ignoring the presence of the inspector.

When the defence lawyer Adrian Wee asked Lam to describe the direction of the boat, the inspector replied that it was eastward. Later, Wee said that if Chew had continued in towards that route then, the boat would have run around at Pulau Tekong.

After the statement provided by Lam, another PCG crew commander, Station Inspector (SI) Tan Chiew Han told the court that he saw the boat, which was later intercepted at around 8.43 am in the vicinity of Chek Jawa Wetlands and Pulau Sekudu, being pursued by Lam's PCG craft.

The 53-year-old Tan, who was sentenced to 27 weeks of imprisonment, was piloting the boat towards four fish farms, which were near north-east Pulau Ubin and Chew had to board the second boat to Malaysia. But, when both of them arrested, the police found more than S$5,000 cash from Chew as well as fishing equipment, gifted by his brother Steven Chew Eng Soon.

The third witness of this case, Assistant Superintendent Samantha Wong said that three statements were taken from Chew and they have found messages from his phone that include texts from Malaysian driver 45-year-old Khoo Kea Leng, who helped the accused to flee the country and currently serving his six months of imprisonment term since April.

The prosecution said that Chew had "embarked on the first leg of a journey out of Singapore, which was part of a single arrangement presented to the accused by Khoo, for which he had agreed to make a payment of $12,000."

They also added that the reason behind his attempt to flee the country is to avoid the sentence made by the High Court by defeating the course of justice.

When the District Judge Victor Yeo said Chew can take the witness box to present his points, his lawyer replied that he wanted to remain silent. However, both the side are ordered to make their submissions in October 2018 and the final judgement of this case is scheduled to be delivered on November 13.

This article was first published on September 24, 2018