Singapore City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee released from jail

5 City Harvest Church leaders surrender, begin jail terms
A combination photo shows City Harvest Church's members (top L-R to bottom L-R), former finance manager Serina Wee, former fund manager Chew Eng Han, former finance manager Sharon Tan, founder Kong Hee, deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng and former treasurer John Lam arriving at the State Courts in Singapore October 21, 2015, where a verdict is expected to be delivered for their trial of misappropriating S$50 million ($42.5 million) of church funds and falsifying the church's accounts. Reuters

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee, who was convicted for his role in misappropriating money worth $50 million of church funds, was released from jail on Thursday morning after serving his sentence.

It should be noted that compared to the other five convicts who were involved in the City Harvest Church case, Kong's sentence was the longest. He was released almost two years and four months after he started serving the jail term.

In a statement on church's website, the board and senior management stated that during the imprisonment, he spent most of his time seeking and studying the things of God and now, after the release, Kong will take a break to spend time with his family, especially his elderly parents.

He was first sentenced to eight years of jail term but on appeal, it was reduced to three and half years of sentence. Other convicts of the largest case of misuse of charity funds in Singapore's history, also had their terms shortened.

The other convicts 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, who attempted to flee Singapore before serving his sentence.

All the leaders of the City Harvest Church were convicted for criminal breach of trust as agents under Section 409 of the Penal Code in 2015 after a 140-day trial and faced imprisonment ranging from 21 months to eight years.