Singapore

Yang jailed six years. Widow's niece says: 'He didn't just steal money, but dignity'

Ex-tour guide jailed 6 years for misappropriating $1.1 million.

Former tour guide Yang Yin was sentenced to six years' jail yesterday for misappropriating $1.1 million entrusted to him by a wealthy Singaporean widow.

Yang, 42, from China, befriended Madam Chung Khin Chun, 89, when he was her tour guide and moved to Singapore to live at her Gerald Crescent bungalow off Yio Chu Kang Road in 2009.

He had pleaded guilty in August to two charges of misappropriating $500,000 in 2010 and $600,000 in 2012 from her.

Madam Chung was diagnosed with dementia in April 2014.

Yang was given 32 months for the first offence and 40 months for the second.

DETERRENT

The prosecution had asked for a jail term of 10 to 12 years as a deterrent sentence to send a message that any misuse of funds entrusted by vulnerable persons will be severely dealt with.

At the start of yesterday's hearing, Principal District Judge Bala Reddy said the sentence meted out must be one that reflects the amount misappropriated, and takes into account the various aggravating factors.

The 10 to 12 years' jail term the prosecution asked for would be particularly crushing, said the judge, citing past cases where the jail terms given were lower even though larger amounts were misappropriated.

The prosecution has two weeks to appeal the verdict.

On Thursday, Yang was sentenced to 26 months' jail for offences mostly related to falsifying payment receipts to his bogus company.

This was to dupe the authorities into granting him permanent resident status.

The 26 months' jail term was backdated to include his time in remand. He has been in remand since October 2014.

The two sentences will run consecutively.

Speaking to reporters after the sentencing, Madam Chung's niece, Ms Hedy Mok, said she plans to appeal the verdict but would check with her lawyer first.

"What he stole was not only money... he actually took away the dignity," she said.

"He didn't do what he was supposed to do, (that is) look after her. He didn't do that... he didn't look into her welfare and it's totally disappointing."

"The message out to the public now is to really look after the old, vulnerable and lonely."

Yang's lawyer Irving Choh said his client was relieved after the sentencing.

Mr Choh said: "Although the sentence is longer than what we asked for... I am pleased. But I will be visiting my client to see whether he will want to appeal.

"Prior to the sentencing, he was nervous. But after the sentencing, he was relieved."

Mr Choh had asked for a jail term not exceeding three years.

- The Straits Times.

COURT & CRIMEcrimeelderly