Yang Yin, the former China tour guide embroiled in a high-profile court battle over the control of a rich widow's assets, is set to have his day in court in March.
The High Court has set a March 29 trial date next year to hear the lawsuit brought against him by tour agency owner Hedy Mok.
Madam Mok, niece of Madam Chung Khin Chun, 88, is seeking damages from Yang for allegedly manipulating her aunt into handing over assets worth an estimated $40 million. Mr Andrew Lee, Madam Mok's lawyer, told reporters after a pre-trial conference at the High Court yesterday that the trial is expected to last about four weeks.
When asked if Yang will be at the trial, his lawyer Joseph Liow told The Straits Times: "I see no reason why my client would not be defending himself at (the) trial."
Yang, 41, is currently in police remand. The Chinese national, who faces more than 300 criminal charges, had his bail revoked after he was charged in court last November.
Nearly all the charges are for faking receipts connected to the music and dance company that Yang had set up, but two of these involve criminal breach of trust for allegedly misappropriating $1.1 million from Madam Chung.
Meanwhile, Yang's wife Weng Yandan, 34, and parents, Mr Yang Sannan, 72, and Madam He Xianglan, 68, are also defendants in the High Court suit, with Singaporean bailor Ong Gek Lie. They have been accused of siphoning money from Madam Chung. Ms Ong, believed to be in her 40s, had earlier put up $15,000 to bail out Yang after his arrest in September last year. Last month, the court had awarded Madam Chung a "default judgment" against Yang's wife and parents after they failed to respond even after court papers were served to them in May by Chinese lawyers to their home in Hangzhou, China.
"During the trial in March, the court will decide the assessment of damages against (Yang's) wife and parents because we have already obtained a default judgment (against them)," said Mr Lee.
Yang and Madam Mok are also fighting in court over a statutory will recognised by the court in April, which leaves her estate to charity. The new will replaces an earlier one, under which Yang was set to receive all her wealth after her death. Yang is challenging the new will. The hearing for the appeal has yet to be fixed.