On Wednesday, Singapore’s church leader and co-founder as well as five other leaders were convicted of a massive multi-million dollar fraud to fund none other than his wife’s singing career. That is certainly a serious case of love mixed with utter stupidity.
Modern Day Shakespeare Love Story?
This mixture of love, faith and scandal sounds like a modern day love story from Shakespeare and as a result has the affluent people of Singapore wondering just how they got away with it for so long and managed to defraud the churches out of so much money.
The churches accused are none other than the Harvest Churches, headed by none other than Kong Hee who was actually arrested and charged back in 2012 for criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts. Probably a big red flag right there that there may have been more to it.
The harvest churches have huge ambitions to expand their faith and beliefs across the world and turn them into centers for evangelical Christianity. They are one of many of Singapore’s “mega churches” which preach a “prosperity gospel” that mixes in with both spiritual but also materialistic wants too, in this case $35 million dollars and probably more if it wasn’t spotted until later on.
What Does The Evidence Say?
The presiding judge in this case, Judge See Kee Oon said “Evidence points to a finding that they knew they were acting dishonestly, and I am unable to conclude otherwise” in front of a packed court room full of church supporters who part of the money probably came from in the first place. There hasn’t been a date set for sentencing but the 6 leaders could all be spending life in prison as Singapore is extremely strict on things like this and criminal breach of trust is punishable by a maximum of a life sentence whereas falsifying accounts is shorter at 10 years as well as a fine on top. This is a big price to pay for the pastor and his other 5 leaders when it was all for the love of his wife and her love of singing.
How Far Does $35 Million Go To Helping Your Singing Career?
Was it really all worth it? Kong Hee’s wife Ho has actually released five albums in Taiwan and went on to break into the US market in 2003 and as a result has appeared in several videos too.
You can see her dancing intimately with the rapper Wyclef Jean in a video, from the English single called “Chine Wine”. As a result this video caused controversy at the time of its release with people saying she has betrayed her Christian pastor and husband because of the provocative nature of her dancing.Ho who is actually the co-founder and executive director of the church too has not been charged in the case, which either makes her very clever or she genuinely had no idea.
Where Does This Leave The Church Followers?
Well the 17,000+ strong members (according to last year’s annual statistics) seem to have stuck by their leader in support and held a huge prayer session for the 6 leaders on Tuesday night and have shown their support to Ho too.