Success of Crossover Project 'not an issue'

SINGAPORE - Whether Ms Ho Yeow Sun's pop music career furthered the cause of City Harvest Church (CHC) through its Crossover Project is immaterial to the case involving the church's leaders, argued the prosecution on Wednesday.

"What we are dealing with here is building-fund monies, and these monies were raised by CHC, a registered charity, for very specific purposes," said chief prosecutor of economic crimes and governance division Mavis Chionh.

Which is why the "theological legitimacy of using Ms Ho's music career as a means of evangelism is not an issue", she reiterated.

She was responding to Senior Counsel Michael Khoo, who is acting for Chew Eng Han, one of the church leaders on trial.

The senior counsel had argued that the Crossover Project was not "to advance the singing career of Sun Ho" but a legitimate project for the CHC.

According to the church material, the aim of the project, which was started in 2002, was to use Ms Ho's secular music and pop culture to reach out to non-Christians, especially young people.

Between 2002 and 2007, she released five Mandarin albums in Taiwan.

While Ms Ho worked on gaining popularity as a singer, her husband Kong Hee preached in the local churches where some of her concerts were organised.

In 2003, Ms Ho took the Crossover Project to the United States, where she subsequently released five English albums.

According to the church, the Crossover Project's foray into the US began to open doors for it in China, one of the countries where it wanted to take its mission.

But Ms Ho's pop career was also controversial, attracting criticism for her risque music videos, including China Wine in 2007, and her skimpy outfits.

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