A seven-hour stand-off between an 87-year-old Singaporean widow and a 34-year-old woman from China ended yesterday after the younger woman agreed to leave the widow's $30 million bungalow, where she had stayed for a year without rent.
It was the latest twist in a saga that began in 2008, after the widow, retired physiotherapist Chung Khin Chun, met the Chinese woman's tour guide husband while on holiday in China.
The 40-year-old man, Mr Yang Yin, later got close to Madam Chung and, in 2009, moved into her Gerald Crescent bungalow, allegedly took over her assets worth $40 million and brought his family to live with him there.
Madam Chung's niece, 60-year-old travel agency owner Hedy Mok, started court proceedings to revoke Mr Yang's guardianship of her aunt's $40 million assets earlier this year.
She turned up at the bungalow yesterday at 2pm to demand that his wife, two-year-old son and eight-year-daughter move out because they were trespassing. Mr Yang is currently in Japan.
Mrs Yang initially refused. The police were called and five officers later turned up to defuse the tension.
Mrs Yang later agreed to leave the house 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.
But in an affidavit last month, Madam Mok said: "The defendant now has sole authority and control over my aunt's assets and personal welfare, leaving my aunt in a vulnerable situation. I deeply fear for my aunt's safety and well-being as the defendant has shown that he has neglected her welfare and is merely manipulating her for his own benefit."
Court papers allege that Mr Yang started asking for money to be sent to his bank account in Hangzhou, China, starting from small sums of $4,000, which grew over time to $40,000
He also asked to be sponsored for an English course in Singapore which costs $4,000 and took a $1,000 monthly allowance from Madam Chung when he was here.
"It is patently clear that the defendant (Mr Yang) has acted dishonestly," alleged Madam Mok.
Madam Chung came from a wealthy family. Formerly from Indonesia, she was a qualified physiotherapist who had studied in Australia. That was also where she met her late husband Chou Sip King, a general practitioner. The couple are childless.
Madam Chung made the news in 2004 when she sold her 39,000 sq ft garden for a record $7.6 million. She retained the bungalow and continued to live in it.
A year after her husband died in May 2007, she and a close friend went on a holiday to China. She met Mr Yang in Beijing.
After the holiday, the duo kept in touch. He would call her and have long conversations with her.
Mr Yang visited Singapore in 2009 and stayed at Madam Chung's bungalow.
According to court papers obtained by The Straits Times, Madam Mok alleges that Mr Yang, who went to obtain permanent residency here, got the old woman to appoint him as her legal guardian under the Mental Capacity Act in 2012.
Company records also show that he is a director of Young Music and Dance Studio, with the address registered to the bungalow.
Madam Mok alleges that Mr Yang forged Madam Chung's signature in 2011 to obtain an insurance document. She took her aunt out of the bungalow two weeks ago, before returning yesterday.
The stand-off attracted curious neighbours. "I knew something unusual was going on," a neighbour was overheard whispering to another.
Madam Chung sat through the stand-off in Madam Mok's Mercedes-Benz, oblivious to the drama unfolding in her house.
When The Straits Times first visited her on Monday, she struggled to recall dates and details. "Cannot remember," she said.
But her eyes lit up when she noticed that the reporter had a stiff shoulder. "Do this exercise at least 10 times," she said, flexing her arms. "You will feel better."
Mr Yang has asked the court for adjournment to respond to the allegations.