The former China tour guide at the centre of a dispute over the assets of a wealthy widow appeared in court yesterday, ready to admit to duping the authorities into granting him permanent residency here.
But before he pleads guilty, Yang Yin, 42, is disputing a sentence in the statement of facts, or the prosecution's written account of what happened. The sentence was not disclosed in court.
The dispute emerged yesterday on the first day of the trial of Yang, who is facing 347 charges related to immigration offences and falsification of receipts.
The court was adjourned twice yesterday for his lawyer Wee Pan Lee and the Attorney-General's Chambers to negotiate the statement of facts. "It looks like we are on track for pleading guilty," Mr Wee told Deputy Presiding Judge of the State Courts Jennifer Marie.
Yang was arrested in September 2014 and charged a month later with a slew of offences, mostly falsifying receipts made to his company, Young Dance and Music Studio, so he can stay in Singapore. Yang, who has been in remand since October 2014 after he was denied bail, also faces charges for cheating as well as breaking Companies Act laws.
His most serious offences, however, are two criminal breach of trust charges over allegedly misappropriating $1.1 million from wealthy widow Chung Khin Chun. These will be heard next month and in July.
The high-profile case was first reported in 2014 when Madam Hedy Mok, the niece of the widow, commenced a series of legal actions against Yang in the High Court.
Yang got to know the 89-year-old widow when he acted as her private tour guide during a trip to Beijing in 2008. In 2014, Madam Chung was diagnosed with dementia.
Yang appeared in court yesterday in a purple remand uniform and had neatly trimmed hair.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Tan said that if Mr Wee and Yang are not prepared to accept the statement of facts without qualification, then the case will have to go to trial.
The prosecution has lined up 11 witnesses if the case goes to trial. Five were present yesterday. The hearing continues today.