Kong Hee

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Kong Hee
Native name 康希
Born (1964-08-23) 23 August 1964 (age 53)
Nationality Singaporean
Known for City Harvest Church Corruption Case
Criminal charge Three charges of criminal breach of trust
Criminal penalty 3 years 6 months imprisonment
Spouse(s) Sun Ho
Children Dayan Kong
Parent(s) Kong Leng and Toh Poh Eng

Kong Hee (Chinese: 康希; pinyin: Kāng Xī; born 23 August 1964) is the founder, and former president and senior pastor of City Harvest Church.[1][2]and who was convicted of Criminal Breach of Trust in 2015. [3]

Following a 2012 arrest and a trial beginning in 2013 into the allegations that Kong and five other church leaders illegally used $24 million of church funds while misusing another $26 million in a cover-up,[4][5] Kong was found guilty in 2015 as the "key man" behind the scandal[6] who had guided his five accomplices by the Singapore court of three charges of criminal breach of trust.[7] He is presently serving his sentence.

Kong is also involved in the Christian Charismatic Movement, a philosophy of ministry that emphasises the Great Commandment, the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate.[8]

Early life[edit]

Kong is the fifth child of Kong Leng, a professional engineer, and Toh Poh-Eng, a diamond trader. From 1975 to 1988, Kong was a member of Marine Parade Christian Centre, an Anglican church located in eastern Singapore. He studied at Raffles Institution (1977–1980), Raffles Junior College (1981–1982) as well as National University of Singapore, Bachelor of Science (Computer & Information Sciences) (1985–1988).

During his university years, he worked part-time for the Chapel of the Resurrection under the oversight of Anglican vicar, Reverend Dr. Canon James Wong. During that tenure, he helped Canon Wong set up a new congregation, Orchard Christian Centre. Upon university graduation in 1988, Kong worked a short stint in a local publishing house as a programmer.

In 1989, Kong was a staff evangelist with "Christ For Asia", a missions organisation in the Philippines led by Assemblies of God minister, Reverend Randy Sing. At that same time, there was an opportunity for Kong to pioneer a new church in Singapore. With the support and encouragement of some senior pastors in the city, Kong decided to relocate back to Singapore and helped set up a new congregation with 20 youths.

City Harvest Church (1989–2016)[edit]

On 7 May 1989, City Harvest Church was founded as a department (known as "Ekklesia Ministry") of Bethany Christian Centre (Assemblies of God).[9]

From 1997, Kong was the executive director of the Festival of Praise, an annual event that brought together churches for united prayer and worship. Kong was a board member of Dr. David Yonggi Cho's Church Growth International (South Korea) and Dr. Luis Bush's Transform World (Indonesia). With and his wife Sun Ho, they once owned two companies, International Harvest and Skin Couture.

In December 2010, City Harvest Church had an average of 23,256 attendees[10] with 47 affiliate "Harvest" churches, as well as 29 affiliate churches and 6 Bible schools in Asia, namely, in Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan. Another 18 affiliate churches in the East and West Malaysia are under the Malaysian Harvest Fellowship which Kong Hee has co-founded.[11][12][13][14]



On 31 May 2010, the Office of the Commissioner of Charities and the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore Police began investigating more than 16 individuals linked to City Harvest Church, including church founder Kong Hee and his wife, Sun Ho.[15][16] The police were looking into financial transactions involving the possible falsification of accounts and criminal breach of trust amounting to millions of dollars which dated back a number of years. The authorities allowed regular church activities and services being continued for the congregation during ongoing investigations.[17][18][19][20][21]

On 26 June 2012, the Commissioner of Charities released a press statement detailing the results of its inquiry. It stated that there were misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of City Harvest Church. There were irregularities of at least $23 million in the church's funds, which were used to finance Sun Ho's secular music career. There was also a concerted effort to conceal this movement of funds from stakeholders. Kong Hee and seven others were suspended from their roles in the church.[22]

A subsequent report indicated that the investigations were trigged by complaints made to the authorities.[23]

Arrests and charges[edit]

Also on 26 June 2012, Kong Hee and four other leaders of City Harvest Church were arrested and charged with misuse of funds.[24][25] A sixth leader was charged on 25 July 2012. All six accused were granted bail of S$500,000 and had their passports withdrawn.[26]

Trial and conviction[edit]

The trial of Kong Hee and the five other leaders commenced in May 2013 and was adjourned several times.[27][28][29] There was a total of 142 days of hearings.[30]

The verdicts were announced on 21 October 2015. Kong Hee and the other five leaders were found guilty of all charges.[7]

Sentencing was on 20 November 2015. Kong Hee received the heaviest sentence of the six, 8 years in prison.[31][32] Following a request from the defendants, the judge agreed to defer the start of the sentences until 11 January 2016.[33][34]


On 27 November 2015, it was reported that the Attorney General's Chambers has filed appeals against the sentence issued to Kong Hee and the five other defendants, on the grounds that it is "manifestly inadequate".[35]

On 2 December 2015, it was reported that Kong Hee and the other five defendants have also filed appeals.[36]

On 4 March 2016, it was reported that the appeal hearing would commence on 19 September 2016.[37]

Singapore's ambassador-at-large Bilahari Kausikan posted a warning on Facebook to be wary of Kong Hee after noting that he had made missionary trips to Japanese cities.[38]

On 7 April 2017, his original sentence of 8 years in prison was reduced to 3.5 years.[39] He has started serving his sentence from the 21 April 2017 onwards.[40][41] However,in Page 264-267 of the appeal judgment, Kong is characterised as being "coloured by greed and self-interest", as the Crossover project was designed to benefit Sun Ho and Kong Hee. Sun Ho's contract with Xtron (a company controlled by Kong Hee) was to entitle Sun to 25% of gross income (estimated to reach US$30M) regardless of project costs, in addition to a large salary.[42]In addition, he had told members they were off-salary and needed financial support. A private fund was set up to raise over $3 million and was fully expended by the couple in just 3 years.[43]



In March 2010, a blogger identified plagiarism on Kong Hee's 'Daily Devotionals' as they were similar to writings to another publication, "The Leadership Bible" which was published 10 years ago. The copied text were published as physical copies into two books, "Renewing Your Spiritual Energy in 90 Days" without accreditation to the original authors. Kong Hee's daily devotionals were originally compiled from his personal reading notes and printed as supplementary reading for his members, free of charge. Some years later, due to popular demand overseas, a local publisher compiled and released foreign language translations of the devotional for sale.

Kong Hee posted a note on his website and explained that the devotion was "originally meant only for internal circulation among the members of my church. As such, there was an oversight in not quoting the sources of some portions that borrow from the writings of other Christian authors." There was also an apology for the oversight.[44][45][46]

The publisher who is also a member of City Harvest Church, acknowledged that at the time of publication, both himself and Mr Kong were aware that certain portions of the content were not original.[45][46][47] The publisher of "Renewal" has since made amendments to the soft copies to include accreditation.


Kong is married to pop music singer Sun Ho. They have one son, Dayan Kong, who was born in 2005.[48]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Kong Hee". City Harvest Church. Archived from the original on 21 December 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "Kong Hee's Biography". City Harvest Church. Archived from the original on 14 November 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "City Harvest trial: 6 leaders found guilty on all charges, out on bail". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 2017-12-01. 
  4. ^ "What you need to know about the City Harvest trial". The Straits Times. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "News". Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  6. ^ Cheong, Danson. "Kong Hee 'key man behind church scandal'". The Straits Times. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "City Harvest trial: All 6 accused, including founder Kong Hee, found guilty of all charges". The Straits Times. Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  8. ^ "Kong Hee's Profile". City Harvest Church. Archived from the original on 14 November 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2007. 
  9. ^ "Every Member is a Minister' at Singapore Megachurch". Church & Ministry. 10 February 2004. Archived from the original on 27 April 2006. 
  10. ^ "CHC Story". City Harvest Church. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "Why Isn't the American church growing?". Charisma Magazine. Retrieved 23 January 2009. 
  12. ^ "Speakers". City City Church. Archived from the original on 24 August 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2007. 
  13. ^ "Kong Hee's Profile". City Harvest Church. Archived from the original on 3 June 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007. 
  14. ^ "History of the Church". City Harvest Church. Archived from the original on 17 May 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007. 
  15. ^ http://news.xin.msn.com/en/singapore/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4121597
  16. ^ "News". Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  18. ^ "News". Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  19. ^ "Church members probed". Archived from the original on 9 January 2017. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  20. ^ Wetzstein, Cheryl. "Singapore megachurch founder Kong Hee on trial in religious freedom test case". Washington Times. Washington Times. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  21. ^ Munoz, Vincent Phillip (2013). Religious Liberty and the American Supreme Court: The Essential Cases and Documents (Updated ed.). Rowman & LittleField. p. 163. ISBN 978-1-4422-0828-5. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  22. ^ "Inquiry found misconduct and mismanagement in the City Harvest Church - Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports". 29 June 2012. Archived from the original on 29 June 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  23. ^ DURAI, JENNANI. "City Harvest probe 'triggered by Complaints, not government reviews" (PDF). Ministry of Social and Family Development. The Straits Times. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  24. ^ "City Harvest case: Allegedly total of $50m misused". 6 July 2012. Archived from the original on 6 July 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  25. ^ "Singapore City Harvest Church pastor charged over funds". 27 June 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2016 – via www.bbc.co.uk. 
  26. ^ "TODAYonline - Singapore - 6th City Harvest member charged; cases adjourned for 5 weeks". 27 July 2012. Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  27. ^ "Singapore church leaders tried on corruption charges". 15 May 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2016 – via www.bbc.co.uk. 
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  29. ^ migration (30 August 2012). "City Harvest Church case adjourned to Oct 4". Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  30. ^ hermes (29 December 2015). "Trials and tragedies: 10 Singapore events that shaped 2015". Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  31. ^ "City Harvest trial: 21 months to 8 years' jail for leaders". Today. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  32. ^ "Singapore jails City Harvest megachurch founder and officials". 20 November 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2016 – via www.bbc.co.uk. 
  33. ^ "City Harvest Trial: Start Of Sentence Deferred To Jan 2016 - City News". Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  34. ^ <http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/jail-terms-for-kong-hee-fellow-church-leaders
  35. ^ "City Harvest trial: Prosecution appeals 'manifestly inadequate' sentences". MediaCorp Pte Ltd. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  36. ^ "City Harvest trial: All six convicted file notices of appeal". Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  37. ^ "City Harvest Church appeal: Case to be heard in September". Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  38. ^ "S'pore diplomat Kausikan warns Japanese not to be deceived by Kong Hee". AsiaOne. Retrieved 2016-04-28. 
  39. ^ http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/city-harvest-appeal-kong-hee-s-sentence-reduced-to-3-5-years/3659450.html
  40. ^ http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/some-will-start-serving-sentences-by-april-21
  41. ^ http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/city-harvest-church-founder-kong-hee-apologises-for-unwise-decisions-will-start-serving?xtor=CS1-10#link_time=1492616653
  42. ^ (PDF) http://www.singaporelawwatch.sg/slw/attachments/100005/[2017]%20SGHC%2071%20(amended%2011%20Apr).pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  43. ^ (PDF) https://www.charities.gov.sg/.../COC_Press_Statement_on_CHC__26_June_2012.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[permanent dead link]
  44. ^ "Kong Hee Devotion". Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  45. ^ a b Kong Hee 'plagiarised' book , The Straits Times, 12 June 2010
  46. ^ a b http://www.straitstimes.com/PrimeNews/Story/STIStory_539170.html
  47. ^ City Harvest founder now accused of plagiarism, The Straits Times, 12 June 2010, pg A3
  48. ^ "Probe was traumatic for my son: Kong Hee". AsiaOne. Retrieved 2016-04-05. 


  • Ministries Today Magazine (December 2003).

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