Yang Yin saga: A recap of the case

Where it all began: Yang Yin (centre) with Madam Chung Khin Chun (left) and Madam Chang Phie Chin in a photo taken in Beijing on Oct 23, 2008.
Where it all began: Yang Yin (centre) with Madam Chung Khin Chun (left) and Madam Chang Phie Chin in a photo taken in Beijing on Oct 23, 2008. PHOTO: HEDY MOK

SINGAPORE - A protracted saga that began in 2014 came to an end on Friday (Sept 30) when former China tour guide Yang Yin was jailed six years for misappropriating $1.1 million from wealthy widow Chung Khin Chun.

A day earlier, the 42-year-old was also sentenced to 26 months for falsifying receipts, as well as for immigration and cheating offences.

Here is a recap of a case that was described in court as an "epic tale" involving Yang and Madam Chung.


The key players

Yang Yin

A former tour guide from China who first came to Singapore in 2006 for a travel fair, where he met Madam Chung and her husband, Dr Chou Sip King, who died in mid-2007. 


Yang leaves the Police Cantonment Complex on Sept 18, 2014, after he was released on bail. PHOTO: ST FILE

The pair were re-acquainted in end-2008 when Madam Chung and her close friend Madam Chang Phie Chin went to Beijing for a holiday, with Yang acting as their private tour guide. They grew closer and Yang moved into her home a year later. 

Yang obtained Singapore permanent residency (PR) in 2011 and brought his wife and two young children to Singapore the same year to live as dependents. In a 2010 will, he stood to inherit all of the widow's assets. He was given a lasting power of attorney (LPA) by Madam Chung in 2012 to manage her welfare and financial affairs. 


Yang's wife, Madam Weng Yandan, speaks to police officers at the Gerald Crescent bungalow on Sept 2, 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

He was arrested on Sept 17, 2014, for suspected criminal breach of trust after police reports were lodged against him. Subsequently released on bail, he was detained a month later on Oct 31 and has been in remand since. 

Madam Chung Khin Chun

A retired physiotherapist, the 89-year-old lives in a single-storey bungalow at Gerald Crescent, which, along with her other assets, is estimated to be worth a total of $40 million. 


Madam Chung at her niece Madam Hedy Mok's home on Nov 24, 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

Described as a "particularly warm, friendly and trusting person" who lived modestly, it was revealed in court that her cash savings went from $2.7 million to just $10,000 in the four years that Yang had moved in with her. 

Madam Chung, who has no children, was diagnosed with dementia in 2014. 


The compound of Madam Chung's Gerald Crescent bungalow. PHOTO: ST FILE

Madam Hedy Mok

The 62-year-old tour agency owner and niece of Madam Chung was the one who commenced a series of legal actions against Yang in 2014. 


Madam Mok and Madam Chung arrive in court on April 17, 2015. PHOTO: ST FILE 

She succeeded in revoking Yang's LPA and was instrumental in the making of a new will - made in December 2014 - that leaves most of Madam Chung's assets to charity and nothing to Yang. 

Madam Chang Phie Chin

A retired teacher, now 86, who has known Madam Chung and her late husband for over 50 years. She moved into the Gerald Crescent bungalow to live with the couple after Dr Chou's health deteriorated, but moved out in 2011. 


From left: Madam Chung, her late husband Dr Chou and close friend Madam Chang in a 1995 photo taken on one of their trips abroad. PHOTO: CHANG PHIE CHIN


The charges that Yang faced 

A total of 347 charges - most were for falsifying receipts made to his bogus company Young Music and Dance Studio while the rest were for cheating, immigration crimes and breaking Companies Act Laws - were brought against Yang. 


Yang seen in a police car on Nov 5, 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

He pleaded guilty to 120 charges in May this year, after it emerged that Yang had duped the authorities into granting him PR status by falsifying recipts to create the appearance that his firm was a profitable business with revenue totalling more than $450,000.

Last month, Yang also made the decision to plead guilty to two CBT charges after 11 days of trial. There were several twists and turns during the trial, which included Yang changing his mind about pleading guilty and wanting to "give up" testifying as he was feeling stressed and unwell. 

The two CBT charges involved Yang misappropriating $500,000 and $600,000 from Madam Chung in 2010 and 2012 respectively. 


Yang's misappropriation of $500,000


The horse painting which Yang claimed he bought for $500,000. PHOTO: COURT DOCUMENT

Sometime in January 2010, Yang persuaded Madam Chung that he had a friend a China who was prepared to sell a valuable painting - Yin Ma Tu (Horse Drinking Water) by renowned painter Xu Bei Hong - for $500,000. 

Madam Chung issued a cheque to Yang but to avoid raising any red flags as he was unemployed at the time, he transferred back the money and asked her to remit it instead to his father's account in China. 

He bought a fake painting and returned to Singapore in March 2010 and showed it and a falsified receipt to Madam Chung. 

During his trial, he claimed the money was a gift from Madam Chung to pay off his family debts and medical expenses incurred by his grandmother for a urinary tract condition, but could not reproduce the bills when asked. 

Yang's misappropriation of $600,000

Added as a joint account holder of Madam Chung's OCBC investment account in late 2009, Yang told the bank in 2011 to redeem unit trusts the widow had entrusted to him. Proceeds of nearly $1.3 million were added to his account. 


Madam Mok (centre), along with Madam Chung (left) and Madam Chang, arrive at the State Courts on May 30, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

He withdrew $600,000 in cash from the account by calling his personal banker at OCBC and requesting that the money be given to him in $10,000 notes. Yang also lied that he was intending to register a company in Hong Kong and needed the money to buy paintings for the business. 

He procured two fake receipts to show that he had purchased five paintings for a total of $587,000, which an art expert later testified in court were commonplace artworks worth an estimated $2,000 to $3,000 in total. 


Yang's defence 

Throughout the saga, Yang had sought to portray himself as the "grandson" that Madam Chung never had, and claimed that she wanted him to move in and take care of her.


Yang in a car with Madam Chung in a photo taken on Aug 20, 2014. PHOTO: WENG YANDAN

But Immigration and Checkpoints Authority records showed that he was frequently away from Singapore - between September 2009 and September 2014, he left Singapore on 43 occasions and was away for a total of 307 days.

He also never took Madam Chung to see a doctor or a psychiatrist and all household chores in the house were done by maids. 

Photos that Yang submitted in court, which showed him with the widow at a supermarket and also trimming her toenails, were also rendered moot when the prosecution pointed out that all of them were taken on Aug 20, 2014, after Madam Mok had sued Yang. 


Yang trimming the toenails of Madam Chung in a photo taken on Aug 20, 2014. PHOTO: WENG YANDAN

Separately, a Court of Appeal on Aug 1 threw out his application to appeal against Madam Chung's new will, which does not leave any of her assets to him. 

 

Related Stories: