Yang Yin trial

Former tour guide admits to lying when convenient

Yang lied about a painting bought from Japan to avoid it being detected in the civil suit. The Chinese national also faked his credentials on two namecards. One of these was used when he tried to sell a fake painting of a cat by Chinese artist Xu Bei
Yang lied about a painting bought from Japan to avoid it being detected in the civil suit. The Chinese national also faked his credentials on two namecards. One of these was used when he tried to sell a fake painting of a cat by Chinese artist Xu Beihong.PHOTO FROM COURT DOCUMENTS

Chinese national wilts under questioning by DPP; asks for a break from witness stand

Former China tour guide Yang Yin admitted to lying when it suited him after the prosecution produced evidence yesterday to show that he had lied about a painting he bought from Japan.

By the end of the day, he was left cradling his head in his hands, telling the court that he did not want to discuss his case any more.

Adding to his woes was a decision by the Court Of Appeal on Monday to throw out his application to appeal against a new will by wealthy widow Chung Khin Chun.

Yang, 42, who has been accused of misappropriating $1.1 million from Madam Chung, had paid about $106,000 in 2014 for a scroll painting of deer and pine by artist Shen Quan from Kansai Art Auction, an auction house in Japan.

However, he failed to declare the painting under his list of assets in an affidavit for the civil proceedings despite being told by the court to do so. Yang also said on Wednesday that the painting was one of "Guanyin" or the Goddess of Mercy.

During the ninth day of the trial yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sanjiv Vaswani charged that the reason Yang failed to declare this painting of more than $100,000 was that he wanted to avoid it being detected in the civil suit.

"You are willing to lie when it is convenient and it suits you," said DPP Vaswani.

To this, Yang said through a court interpreter: "Agree."

Yesterday, the court also heard that the Chinese national had faked his credentials on two namecards. One of these was used when he tried to sell a fake painting of a cat by Chinese artist Xu Beihong.

One namecard listed several fake titles including director of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, as well as arts broker of Beijing Arts and Cultural Company.

On his other namecard, he identified himself as Simon Yang Yin and an antique art investment adviser.

When DPP Vaswani asked Yang if he had ever pretended to be someone else, he replied: "In order to make a living in society, perhaps...

"I was worried that others would ask about my status, but I've never used that to deceive others for my own personal interests."

However, the prosecution showed a namecard Yang had given to an art dealer when he was trying to sell the fake painting.

Documents were also produced to show that Yang had faked his degree, which he earlier claimed to have obtained from the University of Financial Trade Beijing.

Yang later requested to take his leave from the witness stand, saying: "I don't wish to discuss my case. Can I?"

Deputy Presiding Judge of the State Courts Jennifer Marie granted his request, but told his lawyer Irving Choh to tell Yang that he had agreed to answer questions and give evidence. Yang returned to the stand about 15 minutes later. Mr Choh said his client understood he has to be cross-examined.

The trial continues today.

Separately, Yang had lost his bid to appeal against Madam Chung's new will - which leaves most of her assets to charity - after it was thrown out by the Court of Appeal. This closes one chapter in the ongoing saga.

The new will replaces an earlier one made in 2010, in which Yang stood to inherit all the widow's assets, which are estimated to be worth $40 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2016, with the headline 'Former tour guide admits to lying when convenient '. Print Edition | Subscribe