SINGAPORE: Two men who helped former City Harvest Church leader Chew Eng Han in his attempt to escape Singapore by boat were sentenced to jail on Friday (Jul 13).
Tan Poh Teck, 53, was the boatman piloting the motorised sampan in Chew's escape bid on Feb 21, a day before Chew was to start his jail term for his role in the City Harvest saga. He was sentenced to 27 weeks' jail.
Tan Kim Ho, a 42-year-old Malaysian man also known as Rayson, made arrangements for Chew to leave Singapore for Malaysia by boat. He was sentenced to a jail term of six months.
The boatman was arrested on Feb 21 along with the former City Harvest fund manager when the Police Coast Guard intercepted the sampan following a tip-off, while Malaysian authorities handed Rayson over to the Singapore police in April.
On Friday, Tan Poh Teck pleaded guilty to one charge of abetting Chew, 58, to leave Singapore from Pulau Ubin's jetty, which is not an authorised place of departure or embarkation.
He had intended to take Chew to the north-east part of Pulau Ubin, where Chew would take another boat to Malaysia.
District Judge Ng Peng Hong agreed with the prosecution’s request for a sentence higher than the minimum six months for Tan, as he has also been charged with abetting two other people to leave Singapore by boat.
Rayson also pleaded guilty to a single charge of abetting Chew in his bid to leave Singapore illegally, by making arrangements for the boat.
READ: From legal battles to failed escape bid – the twists and turns of Chew Eng Han’s City Harvest case
Chew began serving his jail term of three years and four months for criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts on Mar 1.
Of the six City Harvest leaders who were convicted of misusing church funds, Chew was the last to begin serving his sentence. He had asked for multiple deferments, including asking to defer his sentence until after Chinese New Year.
After his attempt to flee, Chew was given two additional charges: One of trying to leave Singapore illegally and another of attempting to intentionally defeat the course of justice by trying to leave the country a day before he was to serve his sentence.
He is scheduled to attend a pre-trial conference for the new charges on Jul 19.