Kong Hee, the founding pastor of Singapore’s largest church, was arrested this week on charges that he misused up to $18 million in church funds to finance his wife’s career as a pop singer.
An investigation by Singapore’s Commission on Charities alleged that Kong had misappropriated millions of dollars from the City Harvest Church’s charity fund, the Wall Street Journal reported. Four other church executives were arrested in connection with the crime. Kong’s wife, Ho Yeow Sun (whose pop name is Sun Ho) was not arrested, but has been removed from her executive position on the church’s board.
Wondering what $18 million will buy an aspiring pop star these days? Evidently, an album produced by Wyclef Jean, a no. 1 hit on the Billboard dance charts and a $20,000 a month Hollywood Hills mansion, according to the Straits Times. (By comparison, Grammy Award winner Alicia Keyes earned $10 million in 2011).
Kong and Ho co-founded the non-denominational City Harvest Church—which professes “prosperity theology,” a school of thought asserting that material blessings are God’s will. Ho, a popular singer in both English and Mandarin, is considered a lay pastor by the church’s 33,000 member congregation. Although some of the more devout might raise an eyebrow at the bootylicious video for her 2007 song “China Wine” (featuring Wyclef Jean).