“Pastor” Kong Hee of City Harvest Church Singapore is a nasty man when it comes to dealing with his opponents.
The article below explains why I write this.
Kong Hee made whistle-blower Roland Poon pay $33K to apologise
September 16, 2016
By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond
In was reported that while appealing against Kong Hee’s conviction of misappropriating CHC’s funds, Kong’s lawyer Edwin Tong, who is also a Marine Parade GRC MP, argued in court that his client had acted in “good faith”.
Senior Counsel Edwin Tong said that while church funds have been used to fund Sun Ho’s music career, it did not necessarily mean that he had been honest as the “intention to put the funds to wrongful use is not the same as the intention to cause wrongful loss“.
“[The] accused believed wholeheartedly that they were using church funds for an approved church purpose,” he added. Kong has been sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment by the High Court. He is currently appealing against his conviction.
Kong started legal actions against whistle-blower
If Kong had acted in “good faith”, by the same token, he should have also realised that his church member Roland Poon, had also acted in “good faith” in whistle-blowing on him for using the church funds to bankroll his wife’s music career.
In 2003, CHC member Roland Poon began to question CHC’s support of the pop career of Kong’s wife, Sun Ho, openly.
Mr Poon was angry enough about the matter that he contacted the media to complain about what he said were “improper practices” by his pastor, Kong Hee, and his wife.
Then, Kong decided to take legal actions against Mr Poon. Mr Poon was threatened with legal actions if he failed to apologise to Kong, his wife and CHC. Mr Poon who did not have the kind of money to go through court trials capitulated and was forced to apologise.
Kong made Roland Poon take out large advertisements in major newspapers
One would have thought that a simple apology, say, apologising in front of the congregation, would suffice. But Kong did not just want a simple apology. He made Mr Poon take out large advertisements in several major newspapers.
And before having Mr Poon’s apology was published in the newspapers, his lawyers vet through it to ensure that the wordings were to Kong’s liking.
According to ST report (‘Poon says sorry; pastor asks church to forgive‘, 27 January 2003), Mr Poon’s apology was later published on 5 major newspapers in Singapore:
• The Straits Times
• Lianhe Zaobao
• Lianhe Wanbao
• Shin Min Daily News
• The New Paper
In all, the publications cost Mr Poon $33,372.06. Mr Poon himself was already in financial difficulties at the time. ST reported that a kind-hearted anonymous donor came to Mr Poon’s rescue and helped him pay for the advertisement costs. The apology on ST alone was a half-page size advertisement. In his apology. Mr Poon said he had fed false information to journalists.
After the apologies were published, as reported by ST then, Kong reiterated to the media that “no church funds had been used” for his wife’s pop career promotion, and that “it was normal practice for the church to support and celebrate the secular success of its members”.
Separately, CHC also sent a response to the media, reiterating Kong’s stand that no church funds were used to finance his wife’s pop career. It further added that there was no hard-selling of her two CDs in the church.
Kong’s wife, Sun Ho, was reportedly in tears over the whole matter. She also defended herself saying that she had done nothing wrong.
And of course, after Mr Poon had apologised, Kong then asked the congregation to forgive him. Kong told the media, “My wife and I have forgiven him and so has the church. We’re not going to single him out and he can remain anonymous. That’s the good thing about being in a big church.”
Still, he felt that the church’s credibility had been unfairly undermined by the incident and said that his wife remained badly shattered.
Kong added, “All she has been saying since she came back from Taiwan last week for MTV is how all her hard work has been for nothing. Her success, which has been achieved through her own talent and efforts, has been unfairly discredited by the false allegations. However, she believes that in time, the truth will dawn.”
CHC trial judge: Church leaders unrealistic about Sun Ho’s success
And the truth is, as revealed at the conclusion of the long and tedious High Court trial of Kong Hee and his church leaders last year, Ho’s “success” was an illusion.
“I am unable to see how there can be any genuine or honest grounds for their claims that they expected far higher sales for her planned US album well in excess of the projection of 200,000 units,” the judge said.
“I am unconvinced that they could have had a genuine belief in Sun Ho’s prospects of success for the US Crossover given their consciousness that much of her earlier success was contrived and contributed to by CHC itself.”
The judge added that one of the leaders even conceded that Ho’s Asian Crossover albums all made losses. Other church leaders also knew that CHC was involved in propping up her Mandarin album sales. Two of Ho’s Mandarin albums made losses of almost $1 million.
The judge concluded that Ho’s perceived success was inflated and the church had to “rely heavily on sponsorship from CHC member or supporters to help prop up her album sales and promote her career”.
In other words, Ho’s success was a farce all along.