The City Harvest Church (CHC Singapore) congregation would dance in a trance and flick their tongues in and out like monitor lizards, making strange animal-like noises (see TR Emeritus article below)
Meanwhile, the following photos are said to be of a concert held in the Damansara Utama Methodist Church’s (DUMC) Dream Center in November 2007 where the City Harvest Church Malaysia gave a dance performance.
Thumbnail of professional photographer Mark Leo’s blog posting on the DUMC concert is screenshot below (right), double click to view — http://www.markleo.net/photography/loud-concert
“In early 2000, my daughter attended CHC services at Jalan Bukit Merah. She was so ‘hypnotized’ that she behaved strangely. To find out what was going on – and I believe it is still going on – I attended one of the services.
“What I witnessed shocked me. There was a pop-style band playing deafening ‘music’, more like a rock concert than a church service. The congregation would dance trance-like and pop their tongues in and out in quick succession, like monitor lizards, making strange animal-like noises.
“The band music would be interspersed with installments of a sermon, during which the pastor would cajole the congregation to donate generously, preaching that their donations would be rewarded/repaid exponentially by God. I saw the congregation members, mostly young men and women in their 20’s and 30’s, meekly pulling out of their pockets or wallets $10, $50, $100 dollar notes, and depositing them into the ‘donations’ box. I think that’s how CHC has amassed millions.
“In a matter of weeks attending the services, my daughter, who was then a uni student, claimed she had “spent” a couple of thousand dollars I gave her for living allowance. When questioned, she replied that it was not my money, that it was money that was given to me by God. Such was the influence the church had wrought on her mind!
“The strange thing is, that these young people, who seemingly looked educated, did not realise the fools they were made of. Apparently, they were so blinded by the ‘religious’ preaching that they fail or refuse to see realities. Not surprising then that some CHC members openly express strong belief in the integrity of their leaders.”
(bold emphasis by this blogger)
The prosecution’s case
“… the Commissioner of Charities after their own investigations, as permitted by the Charities Act (Cap 37), revealed that financial irregularities amounting to at least $23 million had been discovered and eight church members, including the five charged, had been suspended.
“”The initial $24 million was allegedly siphoned off from the church’s building fund through sham bond investments in Sun Ho’s artist management firm, Xtron Productions, and a church member’s company, PT The First National Glassware.
“Prosecution revealed that another $26.6 million was later allegedly siphoned off from the church’s building fund to help Xtron and First National Glassware ‘redeem’ the sham bonds, covering the track of the initial $24 million.”
At its peak in 2009, the religious group, which by then had been registered as a charity, could count 33,000 followers. Ex-CHC members reveal pressure to donate “as much as we can” (source here)
How the Reverend raised money for church building fund
TR Emeritus was able to dig up some old video links of Kong Hee’s fund raising sermons but most of the videos have been taken down. However, one managed to survive (see above – ‘Sell your flat to give to God’).
“… and Chuang have to eat into their reserves literally, I mean, just the medical bills alone could really sink an ordinary person, but yet this year, Chuang is pledging $20,000, to the building fund, when he’s having a challenging time in his finances…”
“After Chinese new year, Samuel came to Jackline and said Mummy, I want to give my entire ang pow collection, all that I collected which is $500, I’m gonna give it all to the building fund…”
“… rising? more then ever before, the salaried people, the temp job workers are giving, the unemployed, housewives are giving, full time NS men, retires, students 17yrs above, 16 yrs, unequal amounts but equal sacrifice, you give your best, you give until your heart is broken, you give until tears stream down your eyes … “
“… Nick and Connie sold their five room flat, and downgraded to a three room apartment just so that they are able to give $20,000, to the building fund, I mean, where you hear people like that, I mean, people who are willing to sell their house and downgrade to build God a great house, friends it’s a sacrifice…”
How the Reverend and Evangelista fashionista upgraded to RM23 million penthouse
Copypasted and condensed from ‘The Courtroom’ Singapore portal:
How did the Kongs get from a S$127,000 HDB flat to a S$9.3 million Sentosa Cove penthouse?
- Pastor Kong Hee and his family started with a five-room HDB flat in Tampines.
- From there, the Kongs bought a Horizon Towers unit in River Valley. It had a private lift, two living rooms, four bedrooms. The flooring was marble, with a carpeted family area and a walk-in wardrobe which showed off the fashionista side of Ms Ho. It was done up in a mix of American classic and contemporary styles.
- In 2010, they sold this apartment and moved into The Suites at Central on Devonshire. It was reportedly sold to them for $2.6 million. There was also a $28,000-a-month [rented] Hollywood Hills estate which Ms Ho rented while pursuing her career as a singer in the United States. She stayed there with her son, an assistant, a nanny and some relatives while going about her music career. She shuttled between the US and Singapore.
- Today, the Kongs live in a luxury Sentosa Cove penthouse which is more than four times bigger than their Tampines flat and has an ocean view.
Many of them would rock the halls of the Singapore Expo where services were held, repeating the shouts of “Hallelujah!”
Young people are targeted. About 46 percent of the congregation was below the age of 25 years, based on statistics provided by the church in 2010. The majority of the churchgoers are believed to be young professionals aged 25 to 35.
Church funds grew with the rise in membership.
Most, if not all, of CHC’s followers are also very much attracted to the church’s charismatic founder, a man they said is “talented” and “inspiring” and who always “lives out what he preaches”.
“And as our senior pastor, he really practises what he preaches, and acted like a role model to all of us.”
“I joined the church initially because he (Rev. Kong) preached very well and knows how to create a program that appealed to youths.”
“Those who consistently gave more would be applauded; those who didn’t give so much would be ‘strongly encouraged’ every week to ‘give as much as you can’.”
“many [CHC parishioners] maintained that their leaders are innocent and voiced confidence in their integrity.”
Social media blitzkrieg
Support for CHC founder Senior Pastor Kong Hee and the other 4 members are gaining momentum, garnering thousands of postings on Facebook, with heavyweight such as Head Pastor Khong of Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) weighing in (source: here).
Pastors and senior churchmen face 33 charges
The five members from CHC who were recently charged in Singapore court are:
- Rev. Kong Hee, President of CHC management board
- Tan Ye Peng, Vice President of CHC management board
- Lam Leng Hung, Member of CHC management board
- Chew Eng Han, Co-shareholder/director of AMAC Capital Partners Pte Ltd and Investment Manager of CHC
- Sharon Tan Shao Yuen, Finance Manager of CHC
Looking at their ‘job’ designations, the church is like The Firm.
How followers reacted to the arrests
Copypasted and condensed from ‘Asia One’ Singapore portal:
The real drama, however, ensued after the hearing as the accused and their supporters exited the court.
Kong emerged with wife Ho beside him, their hands clasped tightly together.
Flanked in all directions by about 20 of his supporters who formed a human wall, the couple looked sullen and avoided all eye contact with the media.
Then things got ugly.
In a scuffle, some people in the crowd started shoving photographers away and hurling insults at cameramen.
According to Shin Min Daily News, many of the supporters appeared peeved and some were spotted crying outside the court.
The followers shoot the messenger.
They’ve also have been busy writing letters to the editor alleging their church has been defamed by the authorities (source: Temasek Times).
I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE
Is that Hannah Yeoh on stage with the Reverend Kong Hee in Subang Jaya City Harvest Church?