SINGAPORE - Before she met a 40-year-old tour guide from China, Madam Chung Khin Chun threw lavish parties, had a large art collection and several employees loyal to her.
But after the tour guide moved into Madam Chung's $30 million Gerald Crescent bungalow, he prevented her from seeing her close friends, sold her jewellery and art, emptied her bank accounts and even sacked her long-time maid and driver.
These are the claims against Mr Yang Yin, who has not given his side of the story, in a court case.
Madam Chung's niece, Madam Hedy Mok, 60, has applied to lift the Lasting Power of Attorney which has given Mr Yang control over her 87-year-old aunt's assets, alleging that he had taken advantage of a vulnerable woman who was this year diagnosed with dementia.
The application includes a lengthy affidavit by Madam Chang Phie Chin, 84.
In or around 2004, Madam Chang was asked to move in with Madam Chung and her husband, Dr Chou Sip King. Dr Chou, a wheelchair user who died in 2007, had wanted Madam Chang to take care of his wife.
In 2008, Madam Chang introduced Mr Yang to Madam Chung during a holiday to China.
She had first met him in Shanghai in 2005. "I looked up the defendant to act as our tour guide since I already knew him," Madam Chang said in her affidavit.
Mr Yang kept in touch with Madam Chung and, over time, got her to remit between $4,000 and $40,000 to him. In 2009, he moved in to live with her.
Madam Chang, who has known Madam Chung for more than 50 years, said Mr Yang "manipulated" and "took advantage" of her friend's feelings.
"He would frequently make physical advances towards (Madam Chung), shamelessly hugging and kissing her in front of myself and the maids and driver," related Madam Chang. "He would have his meals with (Madam Chung), uttering sweet nothings to her."
Mr Yang "acted as if he owned the house, bossing the maids and driver around rudely", Madam Chang said in the affidavit, adding that he eventually "ordered" certain people, including neighbours, not to visit Madam Chung.
He terminated the services of the widow's driver in September 2009, saying the man had attacked him.
In 2012, one of Madam Chung's maids also had her employment terminated by Mr Yang. She had told Madam Chang that her employer had to ask her for money to buy food as she was afraid to ask Mr Yang, the affidavit said.
Madam Chang, who moved out in 2011 because of Mr Yang's behaviour, accused him of selling off her friend's art collection, and spending the money on his frequent overseas trips, where he supposedly stayed at luxury hotels.
In her affidavit, Madam Mok stated that she understands Mr Yang had taken people to view the $30 million bungalow.
The Straits Times yesterday contacted Mr Yang, who was overseas. He declined to speak to the newspaper. But his 34-year-old wife on Tuesday insisted that her "husband has looked after the old grandmother for five years".
Also on Tuesday, she and her two young children were made to leave the bungalow, into which they had moved a year ago, after a seven-hour standoff with Madam Mok, a travel agency owner.
Mr Yang has asked the court for an adjournment to respond to the allegations. The hearing will resume on Sept 24.
By Carolyn Khew
This article was published on Sept 4 in The Straits Times.
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