Singaporeans riled over manipulation of wealthy widow by Chinese man
Tussle over control of retiree's fortune likened to that in Hong Kong over Nina Wang's billions
Agence France-Presse in Singapore
Allegations that a Chinese national manipulated an 87-year-old Singaporean widow to give him control over her fortune have caused a stir in the city-state, where anti-immigrant sentiment is running high.
The Straits Times reported yesterday that a niece of Chung Khin Chun, a retired physiotherapist suffering from dementia, had asked the High Court to strip Yang Yin, 40, of a power-of-attorney from the widow.
Yang was a tourist guide when he first met Chung in China in 2008 and later developed a relationship with the woman, who eventually allowed him to live in her Singaporean home.
Yang's wife and two young children also moved in last year.
The report triggered a rash of comments online, with some comparing the saga to the tussle over the late Hong Kong multi-billionaire Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum's fortune.
While Chung's assets are more modest, they include a sprawling suburban bungalow worth an estimated S$30 million (HK$185 million), a rare property on an island where most people live in high-rise apartment blocks.
The Straits Times said Chung's niece Hedy Mok, 60, had asked the court to freeze all of the elderly woman's assets amid proceedings to revoke Yang's power-of-attorney, which he obtained in 2012.
"The defendant now has sole authority and control over my aunt's assets and personal welfare, leaving my aunt in a vulnerable situation," Mok said in a court filing, according to the newspaper.
"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."
The newspaper said Yang was now a permanent resident in Singapore.
Mok alleged that Yang got Chung to send money to his bank account in Hangzhou on numerous occasions, with amounts ranging from S$4,000 to S$40,000, the report said.
Yang has asked for a court adjournment to respond to the allegations.
His wife was caught in a stand-off with Mok at the widow's home on Tuesday.
The story sparked an angry online reaction from Singaporeans. One post on the newspaper's website said: "Kick this idiot man out of Singapore ... shame on him taking advantage of an old lady."
Some commented that the case was reminiscent of the tussle between the estate of the late Nina Wang and self-styled fung shui practitioner Tony (now Peter) Chan Chun-chuen, who claimed to be the sole beneficiary of her HK$100 billion fortune. Chan was convicted of forging a will and sentenced to 12 years in jail.