Tussle over widow's fortune: Travel firms deny direct links with ex-tour guide

Two local travel agencies have distanced themselves from former Chinese tour guide Yang Yin, who is caught up in a bitter dispute over the assets of an 87-year-old widow here.

Claims have been made online by Mr Yang, 40, that he had worked with, or had business dealings with, tour agencies such as Chan Brothers Travel.

A spokesman for Chan Brothers Travel said the agency did not have direct links with him.

"Yang Yin was not engaged directly by Chan Brothers Travel as an employee," said its spokesman in response to The Straits Times' queries yesterday.

"He was one of the tour guides employed in the Zhejiang region several years back by our China land operator that worked with several local travel agencies in Singapore organising tours to the Zhejiang region."

Chinese evening daily Shin Min Daily News also reported on Monday that Mr Yang had business dealings with SA Tours.

The paper quoted Madam Chang Phie Chin, 84, a long-time friend of Madam Chung Khin Chun, whose assets are the subject of a high-profile court case.

But a spokesman for SA Tours told The Straits Times yesterday that Mr Yang did not have direct links with the company.

Mr Yang, now a Singapore permanent resident, met Madam Chung in 2008 when he was her private guide while she was on holiday in Beijing with Madam Chang.

The wealthy widow, whose husband died in 2007, has no children and was diagnosed with dementia this year. She made a will in 2010 leaving all her assets to Mr Yang, after he moved into her bungalow in 2009. In 2012, she also appointed him her guardian, giving him full control of her assets worth $40 million.

Her niece, 60-year-old travel agency owner Hedy Mok, started court proceedings to revoke Mr Yang's guardianship and recover control of her aunt's assets earlier this year.

Apart from the local agencies, it was also reported that Mr Yang once worked for a tour agency in Zhejiang. Attempts by The Straits Times to reach China Service Travel Zhejiang were unsuccessful. However, the agency told the Chinese evening daily that he had stopped working for them.

The travel agencies are not the only ones that have disassociated themselves from him.

Earlier, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry lodged a police report against Mr Yang for misrepresentation. He listed himself as the chamber's director on a business card obtained by The Straits Times.

The main body representing Chinese businesses here has clarified that it does not have a director, council member or member by the name of Yang Yin.

kcarolyn@sph.com.sg

tohyc@sph.com.sg