By: Kheng-Liang Tan
After Yang Yin pleaded guilty last month to two counts of criminal breach of trust, Prosecutors are seeking between 10 and 12 years’ imprisonment for former tour guide and grassroots volunteer.
DPP Vaswani argued that, “the lies and cover-ups pursued by the accused at length, years after the actual act of misappropriation … demonstrates the depth of his commitment to deceit”
By contrast, Yang’s lawyer Irving Choh had asked the court to impose a sentence of three years. He said that Yang was a first time offender and this was a “misguided attempt” to reduce his family debts rather than for personal gain.
If successful, Yang could walk away a free man immediately should he be given a two-third remission for good behaviour.
After meeting elderly widow Chung Khin Chun who had hired him as a private tour guide to take her around Beijing in 2008, Yang had made countless attempts to court Chung and eventually moved into her Gerald Crescent bungalow the following year.
In 2010, Chung had transferred $500,000 to a bank account in China in order to purchase an artwork by renowned Chinese painter Xu Beihong. However, Yang had pocketed the sum and instead bought a “cheap knockoff” for about S$200.
Two years later, Yang also misappropriated another $600,000 in cash from Chung after he had redeemed S$1,326,418 of Chung’s unit trusts to his personal his account. He then withdrew S$600,000 in cash and claimed that he had bought five paintings for S$587,000
However, these paintings are worth no more than $3,000 according to experts.
In 2010, Chung had $2.7 million in her bank account but that has shrunk to less than $10,000 in 2014. Approximately $1.12 million has been frozen from Yang’s account. To date, the whereabouts of the S$1.1 million remain unknown.
In February 2010, Chung had made a will leaving all her assets to him. However, a new will was made where Chung will leave all her assets to charity and has been recognised as final by the Courts.
Besides Criminal Breach of Trust, Yang also faces a slew of other charges for immigration-related offences.