SINGAPORE - Less than a month after they first had sex, 55-year-old businessman Toh Eng Tiah proposed to his 33-year-old mistress at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, vowing to provide for her for the rest of her life, she said in court on Wednesday (Aug 21).
Mr Toh's lawyer accused Ms Angelina Jiang of telling untruths, saying it was unbelievable that a man in his 50s would make all those vows after less than a month of intimacy.
She replied that when Mr Toh proposed, he told her he had stomach cancer and was living each day as though it was his last.
"He wanted a happy life with me, I was the woman in his heart," she said.
Ms Jiang was taking the stand on the third day of the hearing into Mr Toh's High Court suit to get back $2 million he had paid her between December 2016 and March 2017.
Mr Toh, who was indeed ill when they met, says the money was a loan that had to be repaid, while Ms Jiang says it was a gift.
Ms Jiang said Mr Toh pursued her after they met in November 2016 when he responded to a newspaper advertisement she had placed to sell a Thomson shophouse that she owned.
They began a relationship the following month, despite her initial reluctance to get involved with a married man, she said.
On Dec 19, 2016, Mr Toh signed an agreement to lend her $200,000 to buy a Balestier shophouse. Ms Jiang said they had sex for the first time that day, after which Mr Toh tore up his copy of the agreement and waived the loan.
She said that on Jan 12, 2017, Mr Toh made several vows at the temple, promising to buy a house for her, set up home with her and support her financially.
Mr Toh's lawyer, Mr Anthony Lee, attacked Ms Jiang's character in cross-examination and portrayed her as someone fixated with money, earning several objections from her lawyer, Mr Mahesh Rai.
Justice Andrew Ang shut down a few lines of questioning, saying he would give Mr Lee some latitude to establish Ms Jiang's credibility, or lack thereof, but urged him to keep to the relevant issues.
The judge noted that Ms Jiang's motives were not relevant to the case; what was relevant was whether Mr Toh had parted with his money by way of a gift or a loan.
Mr Lee had asked China-born Ms Jiang, who became a Singapore citizen in 2014, to produce her identity card, asking why she had changed her name from Angelina to Victoria and back to Angelina.
She said she changed her name to Victoria to get a new start as she was involved in "many things" but changed it back on July 30 this year because of the lawsuit.
Mr Lee also grilled Ms Jiang, a graduate of Southwest University of Political Science and Law in her native Chongqing, on her sources of income.
In 2016, she was a manager at a construction company earning $8,000 a month while selling property part-time. She said she also had income from introducing friends to come to Singapore for studies and to buy property and insurance.
Mr Lee said the sums did not add up to her declared income for that year of more than $700,000.
He suggested that she had falsely stated her income and boosted the figures so that she could obtain bank loans to buy property. She disagreed.
Mr Lee also told the court that in December 2016, she owed $675,000 to seven banks in unsecured loans.
Mr Toh's wife, Ms Chong Lee Yee, also took the stand on Wednesday to testify for him.
She said she found out in March 2017 that he had paid sums of money to Ms Jiang and asked him to demand repayment.
"I told my husband this woman is out to cheat you," she said.
She produced numerous photos she said she had secretly taken off her husband's phone of chat messages between Mr Toh and Ms Jiang.
She said the photos included nude pictures Ms Jiang had taken to "seduce" her husband, but the judge said it would not be necessary to show them to the court.