Widow 'left $40m assets to tour guide'

Widow 'left $40m assets to tour guide'

SINGAPORE - An 87-year-old widow who owns a $30 million bungalow in Seletar Hills has left everything to a tour guide she met in China in 2008.

This was revealed in a will that was recently discovered by the widow's niece Hedy Mok, who is locked in a legal tussle over control of the elderly woman's estate.

The will, which The Straits Times was given access to, was made by Madam Chung Khin Chun in 2010, two years after meeting Mr Yang Yin while on holiday in Beijing in 2008.

In the will, the widow said she regarded the 40-year-old as a "grandson" and appointed him the sole executor of her estate on her death.

She said she would "bequeath (her bungalow) and all the contents inside, including (her) painting and art collections... to Yang Yin absolutely".

Mr Yang, a Singapore permanent resident, was also given permission to sell the Gerald Crescent house, which is on a 32,000 sq ft compound, and to keep all the proceeds for himself if he cannot get official permission to own the landed home because he is a foreigner.

Madam Mok, 60, said the will was discovered among Madam Chung's personal effects on Tuesday.

Earlier that day, Madam Mok had told Mr Yang's 34-year-old wife to leave the bungalow, where she and their two young children had been living for the last year.

Mr Yang, who moved in with Madam Chung in 2009, was overseas at the time. He is believed to have returned to Singapore but has yet to respond to calls from The Straits Times.

Madam Mok alleges that Mr Yang had taken advantage of her aunt's feelings for him and her state of mind. Madam Chung was diagnosed with dementia this year.

The niece has applied to the court to revoke the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) given to Mr Yang by the widow.

The LPA hands Mr Yang control over Madam Chung's assets, which are believed to be worth $40 million.

He has yet to respond to the allegations publicly, but his wife said on Tuesday that her husband had been taking care of Madam Chung for the last five years.

According to Madam Mok, a copy of an earlier will made in 2009 was also discovered. This document was also seen by The Straits Times.

In it, the widow wanted to set up a charitable foundation in memory of her husband, Dr Chou Sip King, who died in 2007.

The foundation was to make yearly donations to charities such as the Community Chest of Singapore, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Singapore Zoo.

The childless couple were animal lovers, said those who knew them.

There were no provisions for Madam Mok in the earlier will, but Madam Chung left instructions to two lawyers to provide for her long-time friend, Madam Chang Phie Chin, for life.

The 84-year-old Madam Chang, who lived with her friend in the bungalow from 2004 to 2011, had hired Mr Yang as a personal tour guide for them during their trip to China.

She had first met him in 2005 during a trip to Shanghai.

In an affidavit filed with the courts, the former Chinese language teacher has accused Mr Yang of taking advantage of the widow for his own gain.

Madam Mok, who owns a travel agency, told The Straits Times yesterday: "I am talking to my lawyers about the will."

kcarolyn@sph.com.sg

tohyc@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on September 6, 2014.
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