HE SAID: She loved only my money

He is a twice-married 67-year-old, and she was his younger, China-born mistress. When their two-year affair ended, Mr Kua Tee Beng sued to recover $500,000 worth of gifts and money he had lavished on Madam Ye Caiyan, including a $335,000 downpayment for a condominium. He lost the case, and the grounds of judgment were released last week. He insists there was never any love between them. Her account is quite different. Joyce Lim speaks to both of them.

This article was first published on March 8, 2015

'I know many people are laughing at me for being stupid.'

Mr Kua Tee Beng insists he is not a dirty old man. Instead, he claims, it was Madam Ye Caiyan who pursued him.

The 67-year-old said he was introduced to his ex-mistress in August 2010.

Her nephew worked at his car workshop and one day, when Madam Ye accompanied him to work, the nephew introduced them.

Mr Kua said she then began inviting him to dinners and social gatherings.

"She told me that she was divorced, lonely and needed someone to satisfy her needs," Mr Kua, who is twice-married and has three grown-up children with his first wife, told The Sunday Times.

She has three school-going children from her marriage to a Singaporean.

The pair started checking into budget hotels in March 2011.

Said Mr Kua in a mixture of Hokkien and Mandarin: "Every time she wanted something from me, she would sleep with me at Hotel 81.

"She often asked me for money and to buy her jewellery and designer handbags."

He claimed he once spent $14,000 on two mattresses, one for her and another for her children. He also paid for a trip to China for her and her children. That cost $10,000.

"When we went out for meals, she would bring her children and order the most expensive dishes such as shark's fin soup and steamed fish. I also paid for her groceries and children's tuition fees.

"Once she even asked me to buy her a Porsche, when I drive around in an old pickup lorry!"

In an hour-long phone interview, he said he knew exactly what he was getting into.

"I was 63 and she was 37. Would anyone believe that she would love an old uncle like me? She only loved my money. And I knew it. But she was such a sweet talker and she always managed to persuade me to get her anything that she wanted."

He said one reason he gave in was that he sympathised with her situation, having to raise three children on her own.

"I was too soft-hearted. I agreed to take care of her and to give her a monthly allowance of at least $3,500."

In 2011, Mr Kua said he told Madam Ye that he wanted to invest in a piece of property.

"She then suggested that I buy the property under her name to prevent my own children from fighting over it," said Mr Kua. He told the court she was supposed to hold the property in trust for him. He paid $335,000 as the downpayment for an $810,000 three-bedroom condominium unit at Hong San Walk in Choa Chu Kang.

"I planned to give her a cut if I made a profit from the property in future. I never expected her to start avoiding me once the purchase was completed.

"Only then did I realise that she wanted to trick me."

Mr Kua said the affair had left him with little savings, and that he has had to sell his shares in the car workshop business. He now works part-time at another workshop.

In his lawsuit, he tried to get back $500,000 from his ex-lover, including three Rolex watches worth $50,000, jewellery valued at $30,000, and monthly allowances amounting to $85,000.

"I can only blame myself for falling into her trap. The apartment was definitely not a 'love gift' because love has never existed in our relationship," he told The Sunday Times.

"I know many people are laughing at me for being stupid. I tried to tell myself to take it easy and treat it as if I went to a casino, gambled and lost.

"I also can't take my money into my coffin when I die."


SHE SAID: I didn't ask for lavish gifts

Madam Ye says her reputation has been ruined because of the lawsuit. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF YE CAIYAN

'I thought he could give me happiness. Instead, I got hell.'

I pursued him? Never, according to Madam Ye Caiyan.

Yes, she did accompany her nephew to Mr Kua Tee Beng's car workshop in August 2010. But this was only to check on his work environment.

She said she and Mr Kua exchanged business cards.

Then he started showing up regularly at her hair salon in Ang Mo Kio.

"He tried to woo me," the 41-year-old told The Sunday Times, speaking in Mandarin.

"He was persistent. He told me that he was divorced from his first wife who treated him badly. It was only after his many attempts and calls that I agreed to go out to dinner with him."

Madam Ye said Mr Kua, now 67, went on to declare his love for her, and promised to take care of her and her children until his death. He even offered to give her a monthly allowance of $5,000. But she said she accepted only $3,500.

Madam Ye, who left her hometown in Fujian province in China to come here in 1996, got her Singapore citizenship 14 years ago. She has been married to a Singaporean, but declined to speak about the state of the marriage. She would only say that she has had to single-handedly raise her three children aged 14 to 17.

She said of her ex-lover: "He told me that he was already so old and he was satisfied to have a young and beautiful woman by his side.

"I was touched and grateful to him for taking care of me and my children. I felt the need to reciprocate and agreed to an intimate relationship with him."

When asked about Mr Kua's claims that she had pursued him, Madam Ye said: "Do I need to look for an old man to satisfy me?"

She challenged his allegations that she pressured him to buy her jewellery and designer handbags, and pay for her holidays with her children.

Yes, he did buy her a bag.

But only one in their two-year affair from March 2011 to May 2013 - a $300 second-hand Miu Miu handbag.

Some time in 2011, Madam Ye said she told Mr Kua that she was interested in buying a piece of property for investment. He offered to help her with the downpayment.

"I already planned to buy an apartment before I met him. But he suggested a bigger property and offered to help me financially," said Madam Ye, denying any plans to hold the property in trust for him.

In April 2013, the pair went on a three-day holiday to Taiwan.

But the following month, Mr Kua went to Shanghai with his current wife, whom she only found out about much later in their relationship. When he returned two weeks later, Madam Ye said, he wanted to dump her.

"The same month, he stopped giving me an allowance and refused to see me. I wasn't the one who disappeared on him, the way he told the court. I also never pressured him to buy me lavish gifts like he claimed," said Madam Ye, who is now working as a sales manager after closing her salon.

As for asking him to buy her a Porsche, she said: "It's ridiculous."

"Would I ask him to buy me one when I know that he drives a pickup lorry? I drive a Toyota Wish, a much better car than his, and which I paid for entirely."

Madam Ye stressed that it was gratitude that kept her with Mr Kua. "But he turned out to be full of lies. By taking our relationship to court, he ruined my life.

"People ask if I am happy to have won the lawsuit. My reply is no. For $300,000, he wanted to destroy my integrity and ruined my reputation. I have to walk around with my head bowed. I trusted the wrong man. I thought he could give me happiness. Instead, I got hell."

But she has the support of her children, she said. "Life has to go on."

joycel@sph.com.sg