Widow capable of making decisions on assets, court rules

Madam Chung Khin Chun (left) and Mr Yang Yin.

A wealthy widow who granted her former tour guide a Lasting Power of Attorney to make decisions on her behalf has been judged mentally capable of revoking that legal document.

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will be allowing Madam Chung Khin Chun to cancel the LPA she granted to Chinese national Yang Yin in 2012.

Questions had arisen about Madam Chung's faculties as she was diagnosed with dementia this year but a Family Court ruled yesterday that the 87-year-old was mentally capable of deciding who should look after her welfare and assets worth about $40 million.

Yang, 40, met Madam Chung in Beijing in 2008 and moved to Singapore to live in her home the following year. She granted him the LPA in 2012.

Her niece, Madam Hedy Mok, 60, accused him of manipulating the widow for her assets, which include a $30 million bungalow.

Madam Mok has also sued him in the High Court for abusing his powers as Madam Chung's guardian under the LPA and is seeking damages.

Two months ago, the widow's lawyers filed an application to cancel Yang's LPA, after private psychiatrist Calvin Fones certified that she had the mental capacity to do so.

But the OPG applied to the court to have a separate medical expert, senior Institute of Mental Health (IMH) consultant Chiam Peak Chiang, examine Madam Chung as well, calling the move "necessary to safeguard and protect the interests and assets of Madam Chung".

A closed-door hearing ensued during which both doctors were called by the court as expert witnesses, and culminated in yesterday's ruling.

"Now that the court has determined Madam Chung's capacity to revoke her LPA, the Public Guardian will process her application to cancel her LPA from the register," an OPG spokesman later said.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Madam Mok said she and her aunt were delighted with the outcome. "She's smiling and happy that the LPA can be revoked, finally," said Madam Mok. "I'm relieved that we can move on and put things right for my aunt's future."

Madam Mok's lawyer, Mr Peter Doraisamy from Selvam LLC, said his team would continue with their application to appoint his client as a deputy empowered to make decisions on behalf of Madam Chung under the Mental Capacity Act.

Yang's lawyers declined to let on if they would be appealing against the Family Court's decision, saying only that they would "review all options".

Yang, meanwhile, is on police remand after being charged with faking 331 receipts. The payments were supposedly made to Young Music and Dance Studio, of which he was a director.

He is also being probed by the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority over his Employment Pass, obtained in 2009, and permanent residency in 2011.


This article was first published on November 25, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.