Chinese actor's wife wins suit over Porsche sale

The wife of prominent mainland Chinese actor-director Zhao Benshan has successfully sued her former assistant and a car dealer for conspiring to defraud her of $395,000 over the sale of her Porsche Cayenne.

Madam Ma Lijuan, 49, is the second wife of Zhao, a household name in China. She moved to Singapore four years ago with her two children who were studying here, her lawyer Wendell Wong told the High Court yesterday.

She now has a few options to enforce the judgment, including applying to the court for bailiffs to seize and sell the defendants' assets.

In September 2012, she asked her assistant, Ms Florence Lim Meiling, to help her sell her Porsche as she wanted to get a bigger car for the family.

Ms Lim told Madam Ma she had found a buyer who was willing to pay $415,000. Ms Lim also told her that the car would be sold through her friend's car dealership, Primelink Motoring, which is solely owned by Mr Douglas Boon Ken Li.

Unknown to Madam Ma at the time, Ms Lim was the previous owner of Primelink.

Ms Lim then persuaded Madam Ma to pre-sign the sale and purchase agreement and vehicle transfer form. The purchase price was to be paid in two instalments - $20,000 on Oct 8, 2012, and $395,000 by Nov 30 that same year.

The car was handed over and, shortly after, Madam Ma received $20,000. When she did not get the balance by Nov 30, she became worried and questioned Ms Lim. Ms Lim gave various explanations. First, she claimed the money was used to reserve another car.

Later, she said the dealer had died and there was no way to get the money back.

Ms Lim then changed the story, saying that the dealer's representative vanished after using part of the money to pay for her mother's medical care.

The car dealer, however, claimed that the full purchase price was handed over to Ms Lim in cash.

Madam Ma had won judgment against Ms Lim in August after the latter decided not to defend herself. A trial to hear her case against the dealer was scheduled to start yesterday but Mr Boon did not show up, and the court ruled in her favour.

This article was first published on Nov 6, 2014.
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