SINGAPORE: A Chinese tour guide who swindled an elderly Singaporean widow out of millions has been handed an eight-year prison term in a highly-charged case that has fanned anti-immigrant sentiment in Singapore.
Yang Yin, 42, “abused a position of trust,” the court judge said Friday, after he became close to 89-year-old Chung Khin Chun, a wealthy widow who suffers from dementia, and persuaded her to give him power of attorney over her affairs.
Yang and his family moved into Chung’s luxury bungalow and took control of her some Sg$40 million fortune—but due to a combination of profligate spending and fraud, she was left with just Sg$10,000 in her bank account by the time she launched legal action against him in 2014.
Yang was Friday given six years in jail for misappropriating Sg$1.1 million (around $800,000), in addition to a Thursday sentence of 26-months for a slew of fraud-related offences. The jail terms will be served consecutively.
Chung’s niece, Hedy Mok, who has helped her aunt with the legal action, said she was disappointed with the sentence—which was half of what state prosecutors had demanded.
“He used my aunt’s money to fight her,” said Mok, who still has a civil suit pending against Yang.
Yang’s lawyer told Agence France-Presse that he was “relieved” by the verdict.
The saga attracted widespread interest in Singapore, where a third of the 5.6 million population are foreigners, with many criticizing the court’s relatively light sentence.
“Six years is too lenient to him,” Yukimi Wu wrote on the Facebook page of local daily The Straits Times.
“This would encourage more (mainland Chinese) to con our Singapore rich people in future,” wrote another reader, Marcus Tan. AFP