Tussle over widow's $40m assets: I never spent beyond my means, says former China tour guide Yang Yin

Yes, he did buy some luxury items, take his family on holidays and even stayed at the five-star Hilton in Osaka, Japan.

But former China tour guide Yang Yin maintains that these expenses came from money given to him willingly by a rich Singaporean widow because she saw him as her "grandson".

He insists he did not spend beyond his means, even if the means were largely down to the widow's generosity.

In the defence his lawyers filed with the High Court on Wednesday, Yang rejected accusations that he worked his way into the life of 88-year-old Chung Khin Chun because he coveted her wealth.

Instead, it was the widow who started to give him smaller amounts first - for things such as English lessons and a car in China - before giving him enough to buy a condominium.

An explanation was also given for a $500,000 bank transfer Madam Chung made to Yang's father in China in 2010. The money was for Yang's father to buy a painting by prominent Chinese artist Xu Beihong on behalf of Madam Chung. The painting has since been seized by the Commercial Affairs Department.

The defence papers were filed in relation to a lawsuit by the widow's niece, 61-year-old tour agency owner Hedy Mok.

Acting on behalf of her aunt, Madam Mok alleges in court papers that Yang manipulated the elderly woman, who was diagnosed with dementia last year, into handing over control of her wealth. She also alleges that he used the widow's money to indulge in a lavish lifestyle.

The saga first became public news last September after Madam Mok evicted Yang, his wife and his young daughter from Madam Chung's $30 million bungalow in Gerald Crescent, off Yio Chu Kang Road.

Later that month, Yang was arrested. He was charged in October with faking receipts at his music and dance school here. The 41-year-old, currently in remand, also faces two counts of criminal breach of trust for allegedly misappropriating $1.1 million from Madam Chung.

Madam Mok is also trying to get a new will by Madam Chung recognised. This will is supposed to replace a previous one in which the widow left everything to Yang. He is contesting this application.

The former tour guide claimed he met Madam Chung and her husband, Dr Chou Sip King, in 2006. Dr Chou died in 2007.

In 2008, Yang was Madam Chung's tour guide during a trip to Beijing. During the trip, he claims, Madam Chung asked him to be her "grandson".

He continued to keep in touch with her when she returned to Singapore - speaking to each other for up to 40 minutes every week - and later started visiting her here, the papers said.

It was Madam Chung who wanted him to remain in Singapore for longer periods.

Yang was advised to set up a business to get an employment pass. Madam Chung gave him the money for this, he claims.

According to Yang's 26-page defence, Madam Chung had transferred $4,000 to him after her holiday, possibly as a "generous" tip. There was a $12,000 Chinese New Year

hongbao and $40,000 for Yang to buy a car in China so he can "get used to driving" before coming to Singapore to take care of Madam Chung.

Then he used $300,000 of Madam Chung's money, which was "given to him as a gift", to buy a unit at The Shore Residences in Amber Road in 2010.

He later sold it for $1.4 million, according to the papers.

tohyc@sph.com.sg