Ex-tour guide faces new bid to stop use of insurance policies

Widow's niece makes new application to keep them out of reach till related appeal is heard

Former China tour guide Yang Yin's attempt to dip into two life insurance policies to pay for legal fees ran into another roadblock in the High Court yesterday.

He faces a new court application by Madam Hedy Mok, the niece of rich widow Madam Chung Khin Chun, to keep the insurance policies out of his reach until an appeal related to the policies is heard.

In April, the High Court allowed him to liquidate two life insurance policies worth about $98,000 to pay for his legal fees. The policies will help cover his legal bill in a high-profile High Court suit brought against him by Madam Chung, 88, through her niece Madam Mok.

"Generally if a court makes an order, it has to be executed unless the party who is appealing (the order) says 'stop, don't, I am appealing, wait'," said Madam Mok's lawyer Peter Doraisamy yesterday after a closed-door hearing. "That is my application."

The 41-year-old Singapore permanent resident's assets were frozen last August after Madam Mok, 61, accused him of masterminding a plot to take control of her aunt's assets estimated to be worth $40 million, including a Gerald Crescent bungalow that she owns.

Madam Mok has appealed against the High Court decision to release the insurance policies and the appeal will be heard in February next year. While the life insurance policies are in Yang's name, she has argued, through her lawyer, that they were bought using her aunt's money.

Besides the appeal, Madam Mok also put in a new High Court application yesterday for the policies to remain out of Yang's reach until the outcome of the appeal is final. This means that Yang cannot touch the policies at least until next month when this new application is heard again.

The latest development in the High Court is the second setback that Yang faced in his attempt to cash out on the life insurance policies to pay for his legal fees.

Earlier this month, the State Court also decided after a hearing not to let him liquidate the policies.

The State Court hearing was a separate one because the Commercial Affairs Department separately seized the insurance policies last year for criminal investigations.

Yang met Madam Chung, a retired physiotherapist, in 2008 when he acted as her private guide during a China trip. A year later, he moved into her bungalow and claimed the widow wanted him to be her "grandson".

Apart from the civil court cases, Yang has been charged with falsifying receipts at his company and misappropriating $1.1 million from the estate of Madam Chung.

He has been in remand since Oct 31 last year after his bail application was denied.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2015, with the headline 'Ex-tour guide faces new bid to stop use of insurance policies'. Print Edition | Subscribe