Niece of rich widow in tour guide case seeks to freeze her assets

Tour guide involved in legal tussle is a grassroots man

The Straits Times, April 8, 2004.
The Straits Times, April 8, 2004.
The Straits Times, April 8, 2004. The compound used to be twice its current size. The back garden was sold for $7.6 million in 2004. Madam Chung and her husband had put the 39,000 sq ft site up for sale for $9.8 million initially. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

The niece of a rich 87-year-old widow has moved to freeze her aunt's assets.

Last month, Madam Hedy Mok applied to the courts for a Mareva injunction pending an application to revoke the Lasting Power of Attorney which has given Mr Yang Yin, a tour guide from China, control over Madam Chung Khin Chun's wealth and property.

Madam Mok, 60, claims that Mr Yang had taken advantage of her aunt's vulnerability to put himself in charge of her affairs. Madam Chung, who owns a $30 million bungalow in Gerald Crescent, was diagnosed with dementia this year.

Attempts to contact Mr Yang, 40, and get his side of the saga, remained unsuccessful. His mobile phone was switched off and an e-mail message to his lawyer in Singapore went unanswered.

Sources have confirmed that he is a grassroots member in Ang Mo Kio GRC's Jalan Kayu Neighbourhood Committee.

"He is polite and enthusiastic, but he did not hold any post," said one source. "He is mostly involved in organising activities."

Mr Yang's business card, which was obtained from Madam Mok, had him in several posts.

He was listed as a director at the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) and the executive director of the Singapore Chinese Immigrants Association.

The SCCCI told The Straits Times that there was no staff or council member by that name.

A check with the Registry of Societies also found no record of the Singapore Chinese Immigrants Association.

Mr Yang, a Singapore permanent resident, was also listed as the director of Young Music and Dance Studio.

When The Straits Times visited his Cecil Street office yesterday, there was an empty office about the size of a five-room flat.

Affidavits alleged that in 2009 Mr Yang moved in with Madam Chung, a retired physiotherapist, a year after they met in China.

"I first noticed that my aunt was showing mild symptoms of mental deterioration some time in 2007," Madam Mok said in her submissions to the court. "I dismissed this as signs of ageing."

But this year, her condition got worse, Madam Mok went on.

"For instance, she did not realise that (Mr Yang) had been staying with her since 2009 and thought that he had only stayed with her occasionally."

A doctor diagnosed her with dementia. That was when Madam Mok decided to apply under the Mental Capacity Act to oversee her aunt's affairs.

"To my horror, I was informed by (the authorities) that a Lasting Power of Attorney had been registered on July 6, 2012, appointing (Mr Yang)..." Madam Mok, who owns a travel agency, said.

Madam Chung has been staying with her niece since a few weeks ago.

On Tuesday, a seven-hour stand-off took place between Madam Mok and Mr Yang's wife, who had moved into the house a year ago.

The stand-off, which saw police called in, ended after the 34-year-old Chinese woman agreed to leave the bungalow on the advice of her lawyer.

She told The Straits Times before leaving that Madam Chung had invited her husband to live with her.

"My husband has looked after the old grandmother for five years," said Mrs Yang.

Mini 'Haw Par Villa' in disrepair

WHAT is left of a huge garden that once belonged to Madam Chung Khin Chun is still a sight to behold.

But it seems the colourful miniature buildings and figurines - resembling those at Haw Par Villa - which dot the 32,000 sq ft compound have fallen into disrepair.

About the size of 30 five-room Housing Board flats, the land in Seletar Hills Estate houses a single-storey bungalow and an outhouse used as an art gallery.

The compound, which has 864 years left on its 999-year lease, used to be more than twice its current size. Its backyard garden, which used to have durian and rambutan trees, a lily pond, rock paths and figurines of animals, was sold for $7.6 million in 2004 to a developer which built 25 terrace houses.

Madam Chung's former driver, Mr Jarudin Mustafa, who also doubled as her gardener, tended to the garden for 30 years, until he stopped work in 2009. The original garden was so large that he even roped in his wife, Madam Saripah Kamsah, to help. "It was very big, but beautiful," the 80-year-old told The Straits Times on Wednesday.


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