The extent of Yang Yin's manipulation

The extent of Yang Yin's manipulation
PHOTO: The Straits Times

An Indonesian maid who works for a wealthy widow alleged that she was promised "a lot of money" by former China tour guide Yang Yin if she would say good things about him and his family.

She said no to the bribe, and instead described to a court how he treated her employer, 88-year-old Madam Chung Khin Chun, when he lived with her.

This was one of the more startling revelations that emerged from the decision grounds of District Judge Shobha G. Nair released last Thursday. In it, she explained why she threw out a will which left Madam Chung's $35 million fortune to Yang.

The judge replaced it with one in which he gets nothing, with most of the money going to charity. Yang, who is 41, is contesting the decision.

The Family Court hearing in May, held behind closed doors, involved documentary evidence from Madam Chung's neighbours, friends, a former driver and her maid against Yang, which described how he allegedly took control of the woman's life and money, and drove away those close to her.

The close friend

One of the key witnesses was an unmarried 84-year-old retired teacher who was invited to live with Madam Chung and her husband at their Gerald Crescent bungalow in 2004.

She said that at the time, Madam Chung's husband, Dr Chou Sip King, was in poor health and wanted someone to look after his wife, who had begun to show signs of forgetfulness and mental deterioration.

She met Yang in 2005, when he was her tour guide on trip to China.

He kept in touch after that, even meeting her during his trips here.

In 2008, a year after Dr Chou's death, she and Madam Chung planned a trip to China. She asked Yang to be their guide.

But after the trip, she said that she found it strange that he continued to contact Madam Chung and have long conversations with her - given that he was a recently married man.

In 2009, Yang moved in with Madam Chung, set up a company with her, and went on to receive permanent residency. According to the close friend, he asked Madam Chung to sponsor his stay in Singapore on the pretext of wanting to learn English here.

His course fees of $4,000 were paid for by the widow, she said.

That same year, she said that she put in $200,000 into a new OCBC Bank joint account with Madam Chung. The money was to be used by either one should anything happen to the other. Sometime later, when the friend wanted to use the funds, she was told there was nothing left.

The friend said that when Madam Chung tried to put in money from another account with DBS, the cheque bounced. Yang was told to take the women to OCBC. There, she said that Yang carried out a transfer to return the money to her.

That was when she realised Yang had control over Madam Chung's money, without the widow's knowledge, the friend alleged. She considered going to the police, but moved out in 2011 instead.

Another close friend of Madam Chung and her husband said she was puzzled by the distance Yang kept from the widow's acquaintances.

For instance, he would drop the widow off at her house, but never came in or spoke to the friend.

She said that in 2012, she observed Madam Chung becoming less talkative and cheerful, and linked it to Yang's influence. The judge, however, said this could be due to the widow's deteriorating health.

A neighbour, who would often drop by to speak to the retired teacher living with Madam Chung, gave evidence as to the discomfort Yang's presence was causing.

She said the retired teacher told her how Yang would ask for sums of money, ranging from $4,000 to $40,000. She was also told that Yang asked for money to buy university qualification papers from China so that he could apply for permanent residency.

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