Nobody Wants To Buy Kong Hee’s Penthouse
City Harvest Church (CHC) pastor Kong Hee may be disappointed that he still has to serve 3.5 years’ jail after being convicted of misappropriating $50 million from his church, but besides the loss of freedom, we think there’s another reason for his disappointment: He has to swop his rather comfortable digs in Sentosa Cove for the slightly more spartan digs of Changi Prison.
Yes, it has emerged that Kong Hee is still living in Sentosa Cove, where many rich and famous people live, as possibly Singapore’s richest and most famous convict and holder of a doctorate that was sooooo not bought from a degree mill.
He’s part owner of a penthouse at The Oceanfront, Sentosa Cove, which nobody has bought despite it being put up for sale for the lelong lelong (not) price of just $10 million.
What are homebuyers thinking? It boggles the mind why nobody is snatching up this rare purchase.
Perhaps it’s the knowledge that whoever buys the unit will be contributing to Kong Hee’s considerable legal fees?
Kong Hee co-owns the 5,242sq ft apartment with Indonesian tycoon Wahju Hanafi. They bought the apartment for $9.33 million in 2007, and each paid monthly instalments of $17,000.
Yup, what they each paid every month for the unit amounts to the entry-level salary of about 7 journalists at The Straits Times.
The property boasts a view that is no less spectacular; you get to see yachts entering the marina, the city’s skyline and fireworks during festive periods. Its private rooftop infinity pool also overlooks One Degree 15 Marina Club — who needs the crowded and touristy infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands?
According to The Straits Times, the luxury apartment even has a private lift, four rooms and features giant crystal light fixtures and works of art at the living and dining areas.
Here are some photos of what a penthouse at The Oceanfront looks like from the inside:
For Sale No More
Kong Hee and Mr Hanafi put the luxury apartment up for sale in 2015, The Straits Times reported.
But less than two years later, The Straits Times reported that it is now off the market, and latest records by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore also show that the property is still under the names of Kong Hee and Mr Hanafi.
We wonder why it’s not been sold after close to two years — is it because nobody can afford to fork out the cash, or they don’t want to let Kong Hee enjoy a profit of $670,000 on the initial buying price?
When The Straits Times revealed that he was living in Sentosa Cove, Kong Hee responded in a Facebook post on July 3, 2015, saying the article was “misleading and exaggerated”.
The property that my family and I have been living in is co-owned with another family. We have been living at this property with the co-owner’s kind permission after we had to sell our properties in order to pay the legal expenses for the ongoing trial.
… we are under no illusion that this is only our temporary home, until the property is sold.
However, a video uploaded on the CHC YouTube channel on March 28 this year showed Kong Hee and his wife Sun Ho sitting in a balcony that looks remarkably like that of an apartment in Sentosa.
Note the awesome view of a marina behind them:
ST also reported that Kong Hee and his family are still living in the duplex penthouse.
We don’t know about you, but that’s the longest “temporary” stay we’ve ever seen.
Kong Hee could rack up as much as $15 million in legal fees, as estimated by lawyers — especially since his lawyer who is also an MP probably isn’t paid peanuts.
Lianhe Wanbao also estimated that the legal fees of the Kong Hee and the 5 other CHC members convicted together with him may be more than $20 million.
So it’s not a stretch to postulate that if the penthouse is sold, the proceeds may go towards paying Kong Hee’s legal fees — something that may or may not be a cause of concern for potential buyers.
But that’s a moot point now, since the penthouse is off the market.
The loser? Not Kong Hee, but his church members, who have been urged to “support” him.
Any buyers out there who are willing to relieve the burden on poor CHC members, please e-mail the church at firstname.lastname@example.org.