Kong Hee and Gang should not pop their China Wines yet?

It appears that the trial for Kong Hee and gang may not be entirely over as the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) is considering if they should take the case to the Apex Court.

The 6 former church leaders from the City Harvest Church (CHC) were given ‘mega discounts‘ off their original jail sentences on Friday (7 Apr) after the High Court re-convicted them on a lesser CBT charge over their original aggravated CBT charge, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. [ LINK ]

Their new reduced jail sentences are:

  1. Kong Hee: From 8 years to 3 years and 6 months.
  2. Tan Ye Peng: From 5½ years’ to 3 years and 2 months.
  3. Chew Eng Han: From 6 years to 3 years and 4 months.
  4. Serina Wee Gek Yin : From 5 years to 2½ years.
  5. John Lam Leng Hung: From 3 years to 1½ years.
  6. Sharon Tan Shao Yuen: From 21 months to 7 months.

To take the case to the Apex Court, the AGC  has 1 month to apply for leave and satisfy the Court (with certain exceptions) that there is a point of contention in law [ LINK ] and in this case, there appears to be.

Law Minister: The matter is not over yet

In an indication that the AGC is most likely going to take the case to the Apex Court, Law Minister K Shanmugam reportedly said on Saturday (8 Apr) that “The matter is not over yet”.

The AGC is considering whether it is possible to take further steps in the CHC case and once it is decided, AGC will make an announcement next week, said Mr Shanmugam.

According to the Law Minister, the AGC has long believed that the sentences given out earlier at a lower court should have been higher, including the eight-year sentence for church founder Kong Hee and the government agrees.

Now if you look at the background, AGC believed that the original sentence, say for example, 8 years for Pastor Kong Hee and the sentences for the others was too low, which is why they appealed. And they told us they were appealing, they told the government. and they gave their reasons to us, and the government believed that the original sentences….were too low as well.

Mr Shanmugam noted that the latest judgement may have serious implications on future cases.

This may have serious implications for other cases, including corruption cases, against directors. We will have to consider what steps to take, and I have asked AGC for advice.

Acknowledging that there are differing views on the judgement, Law Minister urges the public to refrain from abusing the judges.

I understand the public’s differing views on the judgement, but be careful against abusing the judges personally or suggesting improper or ulterior motives for judgements. The reasoning is there, they’ve set it out. People can agree or disagree and from the Government’s point of view, if we disagree, we can always consider doing something. If necessary, we can always legislate through Parliament.

I have asked Attorney-General Lucien Wong and his deputies, Mr Hri Kumar and Mr Lionel Yee, to look into this. It may take time, but we have good people at the top, and they should be able to deal with it.

An “agent” under Section 409

Judge of Appeal (JA) Chao Hick Tin had, during Friday’s delivery of judgement said that the original aggravated CBT should be substitute as Kong Hee and gang were not “professional agents” entrusted with CHC’s funds and therefore the aggravated CBT charges were inappropriate.

Basically, its all about the wording of Section 409, hinging on the definition of the word “agent” and whether Kong Hee and gang were “professional agents” as opposed to “casual agents”.

The 3-judge panel (1 dissenting) felt that Kong Hee and gang must be “professional agents” as opposed to “casual agents” for Section 409 to apply.

Section 409 must refer to a “professional agent”, “one who professes to offer his agency services to the community at large and from which he makes his living”, the judges said. “It refers to a commercial activity done for profit.”

Therefore Kong Hee and gang could not be said to be “in the business” of agents, according to the judges.

Additionally, while substituting the original aggravated CBT with a lesser CBT charges, the judges had abandoned a 40-year-old precedent which has been applied for the past 40 years – that Section 409 of the Penal Code applies to directors. (Ref: PP vs Tay Choo Wah, 1976)

To fall under the scope of Section 409, the judges held that the agent must also be “external” to the company or organisation that is entrusting the property to him and Kong Hee and gang were directors of the CHC board, which were “internal” roles.

While a director undoubtedly holds an important position in a company or organisation, it cannot be said that a person by becoming a director has offered his services as an agent to the community at large and makes his living as an agent.

Additionally, the relationship between a director who is entrusted with the property and the company, which is the one entrusting the property, is an internal one. This stands in stark contrast to the external nature of the relationship that an agent such as a banker, a merchant, a broker or an attorney shares with his customer who entrusts the property with him.

Plainly put, for a person to be liable under Section 409, he or she has to be a “professional agent” making a living by offering services to the community at large (public) and just being a director alone does not qualify the person as an “agent” – an important element to secure a conviction under Section 409.

Kong Hee and Gang out on bail

Meanwhile, Kong Hee and gang are out on bail after their application for deferment of their sentences were allowed by the High Court on Friday (7 Apr).

 

.

 

DisclaimerTRE has no lawyer on its editorial team and the article is written to the best of the writer’s understanding of applicable laws. Please feel free to correct any factual inaccuracies or legal terms as needed. 

 

 

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29 Responses to “Kong Hee and Gang should not pop their China Wines yet?”

  • opposition dude:

    So this means that there are monkeys as lawyers too, too drunk on china wines un halving their sentences. Made a real good mockery of the sysyem too!

    Looks like lawyers and judges are also too well paid these days and need spurs stuck to their hides as well. Too obscene a pay makes one lazy and stupid. Just ask Jo Teo for her now infamous large sex for bonking or CB Khaw for his nonsensical rat catchers, maintenance isn’t sexy comments!

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  • 70% Daft Sinkies:

    Can someone answer these questions for me?

    1) In normal course of matter, people on CBT were more severely punished for amount far lesser than $50 million.

    The Appeal Court spent so much time on matter of legal technicalities. But shouldn’t the role of an Appeal court also be on resolving judgement based on criminal severity?

    2) $24 million went into funding Sun Ho’s singing career. Another $26 million was used to cover this misuse in the form of sham bond roundabout.

    Was this $24 million ever recovered? From the court’s release and news’ release – no. Clearly, Sun Ho’s career was a failure from the start. The money can’t be recovered.

    Both Kong Hee and Sun Ho, personally gained from this saga – using a church’s fund to finance Sun Ho’s career, lifestyle and other expenses. Why did both the Lower Court and the Appeal Court said that there was ‘no personal gain’?

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  • Sharon Ann Gabriel:

    The latest shenanigan involving Kong Hee and his fellow crooks makes a mockery of justice. The average man in the street has gone ballistic. The demand is a pound of flesh at the very least. Law Minister, Shanmugam is bowing to public cry of outrage by declaring that the matter is not over to appease and assuage widespread anger. Any victory celebration by Kong Hee and his gang will be rather presumptuous.

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  • Lee Hsia Lan:

    My popcorns & coke are ready. Bring on more shows! Can’t wait to see what tricks those clowns are up to next.

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  • World is Laughing!:

    The whole court saga is fast becoming a big international joke!

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  • michael:

    This is really getting ridiculous. letting those crowns out on
    bail . i am afraid these crowns will fly out of singapore and never come back .
    maybe that will be good for them .i think their sentence are too light. they

    should be responsible for the reputations damage and financial damage to the church and answer to God.

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  • zika:

    These “professional agents” are ‘external’ to The Almighty for sure. Jesus H. Christ would say to the gang of six, “I never knew you.”

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  • I also want:

    Can someone tell me where or who can I steal $5 million dollar from and I go to jail for 4 months ?

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  • N.Jungne:

    Kong Kek congratulations, you have performed a miracle by bringing down the PAPigs.

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  • hg:

    time for hong lim. V angry. others who commit lesser crimes get harsher punishments

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  • rukidding:

    Now I know why there are Kangaroo Cocks !

    It’s probably refering to “jumping and mumbo juggling up and down”

    So they called it “Kangaroo Cocks” !

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  • Kong Hee and gang can pop their China Wine, who says cannot.

    As far as I know, there are no more avenues for the AGC to enhance the sentences on Kong Hee and the rest because the Appeal Court is the final court for criminal matters. The ruling by the Appeal Court in this case is FINAL.

    The best that the AGC can do is to seek a Criminal Reference to the Apex Court on questions of law, i.e. “external and internal agent”, the director of a company falls under S409 or not.

    Should AGC decides to refer the case to the Apex Court, the Apex’s ruling will only affect future cases. The AGC might do this to avoid future “complications” in the application of S409 as expressed by Minister Shanmugam, but I think it would be easier and better to just change the law via Parliament instead of opening another can of worms.

    Imagine AGC going through the process to Apex Court, have Apex agree, only to tell the members of the already-pissed public that the sentences will remain.

    I stand corrected.

    Tech: OK, I am correcting myself here after some deep digging. It appears that the Apex Court can reverse the Appeal Court’s decision.

    http://www.singaporelaw.sg/sglaw/laws-of-singapore/case-law/free-law/court-of-appeal-judgments/14221-bachoo-mohan-singh-v-public-prosecutor-and-another-matter-2010-sgca-25

    Not sure if this is applicable to the current CHC case or not.

    Those in the know-how, please enlighten.

    Thank you.

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  • LIONS:

    APEX COURT ?
    CON HEE very happy. More DISCOUNTS coming.
    Maybe God will again intervene?

    CHC shud be renamed CITY HARVE$T CON?

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  • New Egg Yoke:

    W . A . Y . A . N . G !

    Z Z Z Z z z z z z z zz ………

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  • Cynical Investor:

    TRE, etc dn’t talk cock.

    Sentences cannot be changed by CA even if it finds High Court judges wrong.

    Mod: TRE did not mention anything about the adjustment to their sentences or even mention “an appeal”. As far as we know, Apex Court (CA) can only rule on a point of law and not review the sentences already meted by the Appeal Court.

    What the AGC can do (i.e. Criminal Reference) is covered under Section 397 of the CPC (we have provided a link) and regardless of the outcome of the AGC’s actions, the sentences for the six will remain. Thank you for the note.

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  • 亜李爸爸:

    If a country is governed by political thugs, the judiciary’s system of that country will not be a proper one,because the system is not in the Justice Dept, rather is in the hands of the autocratic leader.

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  • Just Accept it:

    Best to just accept the judges decision and move on…
    No need to waste any more resources on it…

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  • Cynical Investor:
    TRE, etc dn’t talk cock.

    Sentences cannot be changed by CA even if it finds High Court judges wrong.

    CI, Not necessary true. The decision by an Appeal Court can be reversed by Apex Court and I just found that out. The old Section 60 of CPC is the new Section 397.

    I haven’t had time to read the entire judgement as I have been up all night. Will do so in the afternoon when I am well rested.

    Me no lawyer, so not sure if this is relevant to the current case or not, but worth a read.

    http://www.singaporelaw.sg/sglaw/laws-of-singapore/case-law/free-law/court-of-appeal-judgments/14221-bachoo-mohan-singh-v-public-prosecutor-and-another-matter-2010-sgca-25

    Please feel free to shed more light. Thank you.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Just Accept It:

    MATE, JUST WONDERING THIS – can the Appeal Court hear an application against its own judgment decision but with DIFFERENT judges to get a fresh perspective?

    Just Accept it: Best to just accept the judges decision and move on…
    No need to waste any more resources on it…

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  • Not Over Yet!':

    ‘Injustice Pao’ unhappy and chided ‘wang chow and mah han’!

    ‘Geisha’ quietly wanted more years ‘alone’!

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  • Patriot Tan:

    I pity Tan Wah Peow & Tan Liang Hong. The public dared not speak up for them cos the strongman & no internet to speak as 1
    Voice. Now he is gone people are no longer afraid. Those old judges might have overlooked we are in the internet age & SPH no longer control mass communications.

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  • MarBowling:

    To appeal and win this Wayang Kulit Case, the A-G and Gang have to consume a Barrel of the X-rated Wine, courtesy of Con Hee and Some HOle of CHC(Con Hee Church). Otherwise, please don’t Waste our Hard-earned taxpayers’ monies to prolong the Agony!

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  • Crows Are All Black:

    We are all expecting another round of wayang. The Apex Court will rule that the Appeal Court and State Court made a terrible unforgivable mistake. Con Hee and his cronies should actually be granted probation and compensated $50 million by the Govt for their agony these past 7 years.
    Hallelujah!

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  • nizhemoshou:

    Not once believe these high profile crooks will not be leniently dealt with. Simply have to see the lenient sentences in the previous NKF Durai and Renci Shi Mingy cases to know that. See also how the Con Hee’s woman at the centre of the case and who had enjoyed the booty was never brought to book , the non-investigation into their ostentatious wealth as well as zilch jail/bankrupt punishment for them for non-restitution of misappropriated funds as there is no-requirement for them to do so at all.

    All these make u wonder if papland is geniunely serious to see justice done or it is all jus a wayang to be seen as doing so. Also goodfor prop to show as if papland is clean as white ,dont u think so? .

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  • 007:

    KH can be charged as secret agent cos he does thing secretly.

    Still an agent right ?

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  • apakhabar:

    ALL WAYANG..lah
    THIS IS THE NEW CRIME. Rob God and church funds, get light sentence then enjoy the millions.
    Not only God will forgive, but the legal system you will forgive.
    Nice e work if you can do it,
    A good lawyer in high places also helps.

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  • Help Yourself To Fun and Fund:

    This judgement open gates for committee to help themselves to cash in temples and churches fund with minimum consequences with such chosen technical interpretation of law instead of the law intent to penalise gross abuses.

    It contradicted severe past sentences of CBTs.

    Sad day and evidently of exclusive judgements for the privileged!

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  • Bikini bring mega bucks simple:

    China wines ..china wines ..china wines …grooves grooves …..grooves more ..shake the booty …china wines china wines ….wow what works in a church to herl the soul ….think that china and wines csn bring the mega bucks ? What stupid thinking is this…even if she go topless and many man will not look. …too simple and too stupid …

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  • Not the Full Picture:

    The kind of things they say in the name of religion to justify their behaviour, just makes me feel sick and my belly churn. It is just so brazen and shameless.

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