Yang Yin trial: Ex-tour guide mulls over pleading guilty - again

PHOTO: The Straits Times

With his trial drawing to a close, a former tour guide accused of criminal breach of trust is considering for a second time if he should throw in the towel.

Yang Yin's lawyer, Mr Irving Choh, told reporters yesterday his client is thinking about whether to plead guilty or continue to fight the charges against him. Yang had asked to meet his lawyer after the cross examination yesterday.

This is not the first time the 42-year-old, charged with allegedly misappropriating $1.1 million from widow Chung Khin Chun, is wavering in his defence. He first indicated that he wanted to enter a guilty plea on July 8, the fifth day of the trial. But three weeks later, he told the court that he had changed his mind as he had more evidence to show.

Yesterday, Yang also asked Deputy Presiding Judge of the State Courts Jennifer Marie if he could leave Changi Prison to accumulate more evidence for his case.

"I just want Your Honour to approve my request because I wish to leave Changi Prison and see if I can find more evidence," said Yang, who has been in remand since October 2014 after being denied bail.

Judge Marie rejected his requestand said if Yang needed more evidence, his lawyer could advise him.

Doctors at the Changi Medical Complex had also certified he was well enough to proceed with the trial, she said. The judge had adjourned the hearing on Aug 5 for Yang to be examined by doctors. The Chinese national had wanted to stop testifying, saying he was stressed and physically and emotionally unwell.

The medical examination, however, showed that while he was suffering from acute stress disorder, he was well enough to take the stand.

Midway through cross-examination by the prosecution yesterday, Yang was seen rocking back and forth.

The prosecution continued to point out inconsistencies in his statements over the money he had allegedly siphoned from the 89-year-old widow - $500,000 in 2010 and $600,000 in 2012.

Yang said in court yesterday that $500,000 was transferred to his father's account in China in order to pay debts incurred for his grandmother's medical bills. She died in 2008, Yang said.

The prosecution, however, charged that this was a "fabrication" and produced a receipt dated March 1, 2010, which showed that Yang had used $500,000 to buy a painting of a horse by Chinese artist Xu Beihong. Yang had mentioned the painting in his police statements, but later told the court it was a cover-up.

He said he did not buy the painting, but said he did only because Madam Chung wanted to avoid jealousy in case relatives found out large sums of money were given to him.

In May, Yang pleaded guilty to 120 other charges, most of which involved falsification of receipts to make it appear that a business he set up was real.

The trial continues today.

This article was first published on Aug 16, 2016.
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