City Harvest church founder 'shocked' upon hearing allegations for the first time

Yahoo News/August 11, 2014

By Nurul Azliah Aripin

City Harvest church founder Kong Hee was “shocked” when he first heard of the allegations made against the church on 17 January 2003, he said while taking the stand on Monday in the fifth tranche of the trial.

He is one of the six leaders who have been accused of misappropriating more than $50 million worth of church funds to finance his wife’s – Sun Ho- singing career, and is currently facing three charges for criminal breach of trust.

He also said that church members were “traumatised” and were receiving “hate mails”.

An informal board meeting was then organised to discuss on how to respond to the allegations, said Kong, who had also suggested for whistleblower Roland Poon to make a public apology. Poon had earlier reported to local newspapers, complaining about “improper practices” made by Kong and wife.

Poon’s public apology was printed in five newspapers, costing $33,372. This amount was not paid by the church, said in a statement Kong had produced during a church annual general meeting. This statement was presented by the defense counsel in court.

Till today, Kong said he still does not know how Poon looks like and have “not been introduced”, he said. Kong added that Poon was “hearing voices” and was “compelled” to do what he did.

The allegations that have been made against the church were considered as “another learning experience” and a “wake up call” for the church.
The church learnt that they cannot control “public opinion” and that “what is perceived as something good within the church may not be” perceived the same way outside of church.
Kong also said that they have lost church members as a result of the allegations, while some began “questioning” the Crossover Project.
Kong continues to take the stand on Tuesday.

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