The “star” of the City Harvest Church (CHC) trial, Sun Ho aka Ho Yeow Sun, appeared in court today to speak as a defense witness at the request of former CHC investment manager Chew Eng Han.
In her testimony, Sun said that the crossover project, which involved spending millions of dollars of church money on Sun Ho’s music careers in Taiwan, China and the US, was not meant for herself, but to reach out to celebrities in the entertainment world.
In the trial, 6 CHC staff, including CHC senior pastor Kong Hee who is the husband of Sun, are accused of siphoning off 50 million dollars worth of church money.
When she was questioned by Chew Eng Han, she said the crossover project was a very important project for the church and had a strong influence on the entertainment world.
She said when Kong Hee was in Taiwan many years ago, he realized that many young people were not attending church anymore and the Christian population in Taiwan was starting to age. So she and Kong Hee came up with the plan to use pop music to reach out to young people and to bring them to Christianity.
Sun told the court that she thinks the crossover project has received a good response. She claims that many celebrity artistes were influenced by her Christian outreach, such as Taiwanese R&B singer Jay Chou and the members of F.I.R., a Taiwanese pop-rock band.
“A few years ago, we met with Jay and prayed together… He later became baptized and even held Christian rites for his wedding.”
During part of Chew Eng Han’s examination of Sun Ho, Chew Eng Han told the court about a list of incidents which allegedly show his own full support for the crossover project. Sun said that she did not remember these incidents.
Chew Eng Han produced emails showing Chew and Xtron’s CEO had invested $40,000 dollars into Sun Ho’s flight and living expenses. Sun said she did not have any recollection of this incident.
Chew Eng Han also related how he had spoken up for Sun Ho in 2010 when allegations about the misuse of church funds first surfaced online. Sun denied having any recollection of this as well.
She admitted however that Chew Eng Han had always been supportive of herself, Kong Hee and the crossover project.
Sun said that she was not involved in the marketing, sales and financing of her albums as she was only involved in music production. In response, Chew Eng Han produced correspondence emails showing how Kong Hee and the other accused leaders had kept her in the loop about the financing and budget proposals for her albums.
Sun again denied having any recollection of these emails and claims that she remembered very little of these emails because she did not participate actively in these email conversations. She repeated that she was just involved in the writing and producing of her songs, and only knew that most of the money was coming from Indonesian tycoon Wahju Hanafi, who is among the CHC members on trial. She claims she only knew how much they had spent on the albums when the CAD made their arrests in March 2010.