With some reports putting Kong Hee and the other City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders' legal fees at close to $20 million, some netizens are wondering how the accused have managed to pay for the most expensive court trial in Singapore history.
The 6 CHC leaders were convicted in 2015 of misappropriating $50 million in church funds to fund the superstar lifestyle of Sun Ho, Kong Hee's pop star wife. Ho is now senior pastor at the church. The accused appealed against the sentence, which resulted in the High Court reducing all of their sentences by half in a judgement that upset many Singaporeans.
Sharp eyed netizens have spotted an announcement on the CHC website encouraging individual members to support the 6 CHC leaders, citing the expensive $20 million in legal fees and the "needs" of the accused's families.
This is in direct defiance of a Commissioner of Charities restriction which prohibits the church from donating to Kong Hee and the other accused's legal fees.
"The COC has informed CHC that the church and/or its employees should not be involved in raising funds for their legal expenses or setting up a specific fund for this purpose," reads a COC statement on 22 August 2012.