berthahenson

The widow and her millions

In News Reports, Society on September 15, 2014 at 1:29 am

Okay, I think everybody who’s been reading about the tussle over the $40million fortune of the old widow would have formed an opinion now…You just can’t help it from reading the news reports. So it seems a 40 year old tour guide from China has somehow managed to inveigle himself and his family into the widow’s bungalow – and will.

The 87-year old Madam Chung turned over all her affairs to him, giving him lasting power of attorney in 2012. (Before anyone asks, seems she was diagnosed with dementia only this year.) She has left all her assets to him as well, effectively cutting out the family (she has a younger sister and a niece – mother and daughter) as well as a long-time friend who used to stay with her and who actually introduced her to the said tour guide. Needless to say, the friend thoroughly regrets the introduction. And the niece has started legal proceedings to revoke his power of attorney which gives him control over Madam Chung’s life.

Mr Yang Yin looks like he’s in hot soup. It’s not just the family who is gunning for him. Questions are now raised about his permanent residency status which the immigration authorities are investigating. Seems he obtained his employment pass when he moved here in 2009 by setting up a dance studio, with Madam Chung of course. But somehow he’s now a PR. (Which, by the way, means he can’t be quietly repatriated) Then the Singapore Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry is wondering why he’s describing himself as an SCCCI director on business cards, when they don’t even have such a position. And an MP has denied knowing him as her grassroots leader, when pictures of him at community events turned up.

Of course, Mr Yang didn’t do himself any favours by uploading holiday pictures of himself and his family and bragging online about his luxury watches and how he’s into big money, right after he moved into the Gerald Crescent bungalow.

He’s moved out of the bungalow and is now in a Toa Payoh flat it seems. There was an unseemly row between the niece, herself in the tour agency business, and his wife, when she turned up to evict the family.

He’s sticking to his guns though maintaining that the old widow had asked him to be her “grandson’’ and that her family cared nothing for her. He even hinted that her long time friend was in a relationship with the widow’s late husband, something which the old lady, now 84, has vehemently denied.

He transferred her money into his account – so he could “manage her finances more efficiently’’. He claimed that Madam Chung made regular payments to her younger sister and her niece but he stopped the payments when he took over her finances. He did not say why he did so but thinks that “this could be the reason for (them) to be upset with me.”

He got his family to move over from China and into the bungalow – so that he did not have to travel to China and back which would have “hampered  my ability to look after Madam Chung’’.

He gave Madam Chung’s long-time driver the boot in 2009, saying that the old man, now 80 years old, had tried to attack him. He’s now Madam Chung’s chauffeur.

He sacked her Indonesian maid in 2011 because she was always “asking for money’’ and because he and his wife were around to take care of the household chores.

Yes, he did buy and sell a $1 million Amber Road condominium unit last year, for a $200,000 profit. But this was an investment on Madam Chung’s behalf and had “her knowledge and consent”.

As for the niece maintaining that her aunt had been manipulated into signing over her legal rights in 2012, he said that a doctor accredited with the Public Guardian office had declared that Madam Chung had the “requisite mental capacity’’ when she did so. I wonder who this doctor is. The media didn’t say. And I also wonder who her lawyer is….

The case has yet to go before the courts and both sides seem to have gone to the media to air their views. Predictably, Mr Yang is being painted very black in social media. And the pity is, so are his compatriots from China.  Yet he is one man among millions and Justice Bao has yet to rule on the case. (Seriously, it sounds like a Chinese drama serial).

This is probably the first, or at least rare, case of someone trying to revoke another person’s power of attorney. It must be an interesting time for the office of the Public Guardian which surely has a vested interest in making sure that its processes are water-tight. I wonder what sort of questions the public guardian asks of anyone who is signing away his legal rights and how it ensures that the person hasn’t been influenced in any way, especially a childless widow with millions.

And in the middle of it all is the old lady, a retired physiotherapist, who has no children. If the man and his family have moved out of the bungalow, and she no longer has her driver and maid, I wonder who’s looking after her now.

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