Convicted Singapore church leader nabbed while fleeing in boat
Singapore: A former Singaporean Church leader was charged in court today for attempting to flee the country, before he was to start serving a jail sentence for being part of a group that misappropriated SGD 50 million in church funds. Former City Harvest Church (CHC) leader Chew Eng Han was arrested by the Police Coast Guard yesterday from a motorised 'sampan' (small boat) off a Singaporean island, Pulau Ubin, according to media reports.
Chew, on bail of SGD 1 million, was today due to start serving a jail term of three years and four months for his role in the misappropriation of SGD 50 million of church funds, the largest fraud involving charitable funds in Singapore's history.
Chew, 57, was arrested at sea at 8.47 am yesterday for leaving the country from an unauthorised point of departure "without being compelled by accident or other reasonable cause," court documents stated.
The 'sampan', piloted by Tan Poh Teck, was intercepted by the Police Coast Guard in Singapore waters about 2.4 kms away from Pulau Ubin.
Tan, 53, was also charged on Thursday with abetting Chew's attempted illegal departure by taking him on his fishing boat bound for Malaysia.
The pair had claimed to be on a fishing trip when they were arrested. The coast guard, which intercepted the boat following a tip-off, said a preliminary investigation revealed the men were headed to Malaysia.
The authorities seized SGD 5,000 in cash and fishing equipment from the boat, reported Channel News Asia.