Newspaper vendor sues son to get condo back

A 76-year-old newspaper vendor has sued his 48-year-old son, whom he called "unfilial", to get back a $1.2 million Hillview Avenue condominium.
A 76-year-old newspaper vendor has sued his 48-year-old son, whom he called "unfilial", to get back a $1.2 million Hillview Avenue condominium.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

A 76-year-old newspaper vendor has sued his 48-year-old son, whom he called "unfilial", to get back a $1.2 million Hillview Avenue condominium.

In 2000, Mr Chin Kim Yon paid $700,000 for the apartment. It was registered in the names of his son and daughter by his second "wife", whom he married in customary Chinese rites in 1963.

After daughter Yun Qin died last year at the age of 49, he applied to administer her estate and transferred her half-share of the flat to himself. He sued son Kheng Hai for the other half-share. He said he never meant to give the condo to his children, who were just holding it on trust for him.

Yesterday, on the first day of the trial, Mr Chin testified that he did not intend to will his estate to Kheng Hai. He said he was taking legal action because his son has been unfilial to him.

He singled out a "heartbreaking" 2013 incident in which his son visited him at his Johor Bahru home and tried to hit him with a bottle in anger.

In his affidavit, Mr Chin said that he wanted to "regularise" the ownership of the property to prepare for the administration of his estate after his death.

The Singapore permanent resident has three other children from his first marriage in 1958.

Mr Chin, represented by Mr Winston Quek, said he bought the condo his two children were renting after they said they could not afford the rent, out of "fatherly love" so they can live there rent-free, but he made it clear that it belonged to him. He said he felt "cheated" when they mortgaged the unit for $400,000 but did not use the loan to buy another property as promised.

Kheng Hai, represented by Mr Goh Peck San, denies being unable to pay rent. He said his father agreed to buy the condo after they told him the landlord was selling and he had told them that it was for the two of them. He contends that the loan was used to buy a HDB flat in the joint names of his father and sister in 2003.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2015, with the headline 'Newspaper vendor sues son to get condo back'. Print Edition | Subscribe