In a freshly released written decision by High Court judge Judith Prakash today, she explains why former tour guide Yang Yin could be allowed to liquidate his insurance policies – worth about $98,000 – to pay for his legal fees despite having his assets frozen under a Mareva injunction.
Yang, a Chinese national, is facing a civil suit from the niece of wealthy widow, Chung Khin Chun, for manipulating the older woman into granting him control over her assets, which are worth an estimated S$40 million. Mdm Chung’s niece Hedy Mok, who is acting legally on her behalf, has appealed against the order but a date for the appeal trial has not been fixed.
According to Justice Prakash, the money tied up in Yang Yin’s insurance policies would only be available on maturity, unless they were surrendered earlier. As such, she reasoned that “it was less likely that (Mdm Chung) intended him to use those moneys to look after her”.
“I therefore considered that those funds could be more properly released for the purpose of meeting Mr Yang’s legal fees and for that purpose only.”
Justice Prakash did not allow a further S$1.1 million from Yang’s bank accounts to be released.
To recap, 41 year-old Yang met the 88 year-old Mdm Chung in Beijing in 2008 and somehow convinced her to let him and his family move into her bungalow and take control of her assets here the following year. Mdm Mok took action against Yang last year.
He has since lost control of Mdm Chung’s assets with the revocation of her Lasting Power of Attorney. He is also excluded from her new will, but Yang is challenging the move.
Yang is separately facing more than 300 criminal charges for faking receipts of his music and dance school to gain permanent residency status here, among other offences.
The CAD is preparing a report on the seizure of the insurance policies, so that the Magistrates’ Court can decide whether to release the policies to the person entitled to them.
Also revealed was how the insurance policies came to be purchased. According to CAD investigations, an OCBC officer servicing Mdm Chung had on Aug 4, 2009, helped to add Yang as an authorised signatory to her OCBC bank account.
The officer, Mr Huang Yi Yao, overheard her telling Yang to use the money to take care of her.
In March 2010, Mr Huang introduced endowment plans to them and two were bought in Yang’s name. One expired and the proceeds were used to buy another in 2013.
Before making her order, Justice Prakash had asked Yang to show he had exhausted other avenues of funds.
Among other things, he had explained that the S$500,000 transferred from Mdm Chung’s account to his father in China in February 2010 was to buy a painting by famous Chinese artist Xu Beihong, which is now in the CAD’s custody.