Despite the legal woes he and five other leaders are facing, City Harvest Church founder, Kong Hee, is still living in his Sentosa Cove penthouse and has not disposed of the property.
Kong and Indonesian tycoon Wahju Hanafi bought The Oceanfront apartment for S$9.33 million in 2007. The monthly instalment each of them paid was S$17,000. The 5,242 sq ft duplex unit is on the 11th floor.
The Straits Times previously reported on July 2, 2015, that Kong had put that house up for sale for S$10 million in the midst of the CHC trial.
ST spoke to an investor, who had visited the property, as well as quoted an agent who managed to describe the interior of the house in detail to give a sense of what it looked like from the inside.
Here is a description of the home in ST’s report:
A property agent said the unit boasts spectacular views of luxury yachts entering the marina and the city’s skyline, and of fireworks during festivities.
A private lift takes visitors to the 11th-storey penthouse featuring four rooms on the first level – a master bedroom and other rooms.
The living and dining areas have giant crystal light fixtures and works of art.
A walk-in wardrobe connects the master bedroom to a huge bathroom with a jacuzzi. The wardrobe area also features two watch display cabinets filled with fine timepieces from Cartier and Bvlgari.
A spiral staircase in the dining area leads to an entertainment area on the second level and a roof terrace with a huge infinity pool.
ST's 2015 story prompted Kong to issue a statement. In fact, he issued the same statement twice, after the first was removed and the second statement edited to remove certain phrases. (An example is provided at the end of the article.)
This was the first statement, put up on the same day as the ST report, but was subsequently deleted:
This is a screen shot:
This was what it said:
Kong Hee responds to ST report (2 July 2015)
I refer to the newspaper article "City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee puts Sentosa Cove home for sale for $10m" by Joyce Lim published in The Straits Times on 2 July 2015.
I was surprised by the contents of the article. Significant portions of the said article are misleading and exaggerated.
At the outset, I note that the "investor" quoted in the article is unnamed and anonymous.
The property that my family and I have been temporarily 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.
The article quotes the "investor" using superlative terms to describe my property, implying that its furnishings are grandiose and luxurious. I am unaware of the intentions and motives of the "investor", but my family and I would respectfully disagree with the particular nuances in which the article and the "investor" mischievously seek to portray. I am puzzled why the furniture in the apartment is described as allegedly "lavish or opulent", when it is not.
There is no denying that my family and I are blessed and privileged to be staying at the property. However, my family and I are under no illusion that this is only our temporary home, until the property is sold. The article has given the impression that this property was only just put up for sale. On the contrary, the co-owner and I have been trying to sell this property for some time.
I am particularly surprised by the reference in the article that the "investor" has "the impression that the owner sure knows how to enjoy the high life". I do not intend to dignify this assertion by responding to this, suffice to say that those who know and are around me, my family and friends, know perfectly well what we have gone through over the past 5 years, and what we continue to go through today.
Lastly, I am shocked by the alleged offer made by the agent to take the "investor" out on the owner's "yacht". I do not, and have never owned a yacht. As far as I am aware, the co-owner, who does not live in Singapore, also does not own a yacht.
After the initial statement was removed, Kong put up another version but with edits made to it: