City Harvest Church’s Chew Eng Han Arrested At Sea After Trying To Escape Singapore In A Motorised Sampan

If you recall, one ex-leader of City Harvest Church (CHC) was granted a final jail deferment to spend Chinese New Year with his family.

Turns out, he had other grand plans in mind — a great sea escape via a motorised sampan.

No doubt a timely attempt to evade his 3 year 4 month stay in prison, just one day before it was slated to begin.

But it seems like even the heavens weren’t on his side for this one.

Chew Eng Han was caught by the Police Coast Guard in his vessel of choice near Pulau Ubin’s waters at 8.47am on Wednesday (21 Feb), according to Channel NewsAsia.

Dayung sampan, dayung dayung sampan?

On Mr Chew’s sampan, they found fishing equipment, $5000 in cash, three mobile phones and two SIM cards.

Upon further questioning, he claimed that he was fishing.


Well, if that were true and he didn’t get caught, we’re guessing that sashimi might just have been on his dinner menu tonight.

What was he running from?

Mr Chew, together with the five other CHC leaders, were found guilty by the courts for misappropriating millions of dollars from the church’s building funds from 2007 to 2009.

All six were charged under Section 406 of the Penal Code, for plain Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT), as they misused donors’ funds in the name of religion.

Mr Chew was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in prison.

He was granted a delayed concession by the Court of Appeal and was scheduled to begin serving his sentence from 22 Feb, after the CNY holiday.

Guess he spent his free time wisely — scheming to play out his own version of The Shawshank Redemption.


A greenhorn refugee

Maybe the first-time jitterbugs hit Mr Chew, hence his escape attempt didn’t go as planned.

Although we feel it wasn’t exactly a brilliant escape route.

Singapore’s famous for vigilant coast guards who work swiftly with our neighboring countries’ patrol teams to catch any fugitives.

But maybe the odds of successfully leading a new life in secrecy were high enough to make him take such a leap of faith.

And let’s talk about camaraderie — how could he leave his five other City Harvest chums behind?

Then again, he didn’t seem to feel too guilty about leaving them behind once before.


Now that Mr Chew’s caught, he’s probably going to have to serve an even longer sentence.

Both men on the sampan were arrested under the Immigration Act for “Attempting to Leave Singapore unlawfully at Unauthorized Point of Departure”.

If convicted, they face a fine of up to $2,000 or up to six months in jail or both.

Guess we can only say he sabo-ed himself.


Sorry Mr Chew, you’ll have to face the music for real this time.

Featured image from City News and Trek Earth.