Tussle over widow's assets: Niece does not want Yang to liquidate insurance policies

SINGAPORE - Yang Yin, the former China tour guide accused of manipulating an elder widow into giving him control of her fortune, is facing more legal hurdles.

The wealthy widow's niece, Madam Hedy Mok, has filed an appeal against a court's earlier decision to allow Yang to liquidate two insurance policies to pay for his legal fees. Speaking to reporters after a pre-trial conference at the High Court on Tuesday, Madam Mok's lawyer Andrew Lee said that the appeal was filed last week, and an in-chambers hearing has been scheduled for next month.

This is the latest twist in the tussle over wealthy widow Madam Chung Khin Chun's assets, which is estimated to be worth $40 million.

The 41-year-old Yang had been seeking to withdraw $12,000 a month from his frozen bank accounts for personal and legal expenses. While no order was made on that application, the court decided last Monday that Yang can liquidate two insurance policies worth about $98,000 to pay for his legal fees.

Yang, who has been in remand since Oct 31 last year, also faces more than 300 criminal charges. Two of the charges involve criminal breach of trust charges for allegedly misappropriating $1.1 million from the widow.

Earlier this month, the court recognised a new will made by Madam Chung last year which leaves most of her assets to charity. It replaces a will made in 2010 in which the former tour guide stood to inherit all her assets including her $30 million Gerald Crescent bungalow. Yang is appealing the decision to recognise the new will.