In a dramatic turn of events, a former China tour guide accused of cheating a wealthy widow who has dementia was arrested for suspected criminal breach of trust yesterday.
The development comes amid a court battle between the man, 40-year-old Yang Yin, and the 87-year-old widow's niece over her assets, which are believed to be worth $40 million.
The niece, 60-year-old Hedy Mok, had reported to the police that Yang allegedly stole jewellery and cash belonging to her aunt, Madam Chung Khin Chun, while having been entrusted to act as her legal guardian.
The police are believed to have acted following the report.
On Tuesday, the police and Immigration Checkpoints Authority (ICA) took Yang to the Police Cantonment Complex for questioning.
ICA is also probing Yang's status as a permanent resident here.
Around noon yesterday, a handful of plainclothes police officers were spotted inside Madam Chung's Gerald Crescent bungalow, where Yang had been staying since 2009. His wife and two young children moved in last year.
The officers spent more than an hour at the $30 million house, interviewing a maid and Madam Mok.
Yang had met Madam Chung in 2008, while acting as a private tour guide during her holiday in Beijing. In 2010, the widow made a will leaving all her assets to Yang.
Two years later, she also appointed him her guardian, giving him full control of her assets through a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
Madam Chung, whose husband, Dr Chou Sip King, died in 2007, has no children and was diagnosed with dementia this year.
Her niece started court proceedings last month, claiming that Yang had manipulated her aunt, a retired physiotherapist. But he claims the elderly woman was neglected, and wanted him to take care of her as a "grandson" she never had.
A pre-trial conference is expected to take place next Wednesday.
Since the news of the saga broke two weeks ago, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI) has lodged a police report accusing Yang of falsely claiming to be a director with the association.
Yang and his wife Weng Yandan also came under fire for posting photographs of their lavish lifestyle online.
Two months after he was granted the LPA, Yang wrote in his blog: "Let my cash vault grow towards $50 million! Come on, money, I love you!"
He also wrote about his love for watches, branded goods and stays in luxury hotels, and uploaded photos of items such as a $14,000 Frank Muller watch he said he was planning to buy.
The posts were either edited or removed by last night.
It has also been revealed that Madam Mok had made police reports alleging that cash, jewellery and art pieces were taken from her aunt's art gallery in her bungalow.
This article was first published on Sep 18, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.