Singaporean in megachurch fraud charged for trying to flee jail sentence

SINGAPORE — A Singapore church official convicted in a multimillion-dollar fraud case was charged again in court on Thursday after trying to flee the city-state on a boat a day before he was to begin serving a reduced jail sentence. The five-year long legal battle that mixed fraud and faith had gripped the wealthy southeast Asian island, where there is little tolerance of corruption. Chew Eng Han, who was the treasurer of the City Harvest Church and an investment manager, had hired a boat to escape to neighbouring Malaysia, a trip of less than an hour, when he was arrested by the coast guard on Wednesday, Singapore police said. Chew was arrested “for attempting to leave Singapore illegally,” the police said in a statement, adding that their investigation continued. Chew and another man were arrested in a motor boat off the island of Pulau Ubin north of Singapore. Chew had S$5,000 in cash, the police said. Singapore media said the pair claimed to have been fishing when questioned. Chew, who is in custody, could not be reached for comment. Reuters could not immediately contact his lawyer to seek comment. Chew was among six church leaders convicted in October 2015 of misusing millions of dollars to support the pop-singing career of the wife of a church co-founder. She was not charged in the case. Chew was to have begun serving a sentence of three years and four months, which had been cut from six years on appeal. Earlier in February, a… [Read full story]

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