City Harvest Church leaders convicted of fraud surrender at State Courts to begin jail terms

City Harvest Church founder Pastor Kong Hee and four other church leaders convicted of misappropriating church funds have surrendered at the State Courts in Singapore on Friday to start their jail terms.

(REUTERS / Edgar Su)A combination photo shows City Harvest Church's members (top L-R to bottom L-R), former finance manager Serina Wee, former fund manager Chew Eng Han, former finance manager Sharon Tan, founder Kong Hee, deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng and former treasurer John Lam arriving at the State Courts in Singapore October 21, 2015, where a verdict is expected to be delivered for their trial of misappropriating S million (.5 million) of church funds and falsifying the church's accounts.

In the morning of April 21, Pastor Kong was the first of the five convicted leaders to arrive at the State Courts to surrender himself. He hugged some of his supporters who had arrived ahead of him and were waiting outside a court room, the Straits Times details.

"I am totally at peace and I'm grateful to God for this," said Pastor Kong. "I have nothing more to say, just let me thank my friends."

Next to arrive at the State Courts was former CHC finance manager Sharon Tan, followed by former CHC finance committee member John Lam and church deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng. Finally, former finance manager Serina Wee walked in escorted by her husband Kenny Low.

Former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han was also among those convicted of misusing $50 million of their church funds, but his sentence was delayed because of questions of law that have cropped up.

All of the jail terms of the six church leaders were reduced on April 7 by the High Court. While they were previously handed prison sentences of between 21 months and eight years, they will now be imprisoned between seven months to three and a half years years.

Earlier this month, Pastor Kong faced his congregation and apologized for the pain and disappointment that his actions have caused. With a shaky voice, the embattled church founder asked for his members' forgiveness and said he wished to be a better leader to them.

In addition, Pastor Kong had expressed regret that he had not taken the time to slow down and spend more time in prayer during the times that the church population surged quickly. He said that mistake had caused him to make "unwise" decisions.

Nevertheless, Pastor Kong promised the CHC members that what happened will not be repeated in the future. He described the experience as a learning point for all of them.