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The Straits Times
Friday, Aug 5, 2016
A former tour guide on trial for misappropriating money from a rich widow had a moment of panic in court on Friday (Aug 5) and asked for permission to "give up" testifying.
Yang Yin, a Chinese national, has pleaded guilty to 120 charges but claimed trial a week ago to criminal breach of trust charges.
But before the prosecution could begin its cross-examination on Friday, Yang, who is accused of allegedly misappropriating $1.1 million from Madam Chung Khin Chun, 89, said he was unable to continue being cross-examined. "I feel very stressed," he told the court through an interpreter, adding he was physically and emotionally unwell. He had been on the stand since Tuesday (Aug 2).
Deputy Presiding Judge of the State Courts Jennifer Marie then asked if he was able to proceed with the trial. He replied: "I would like to request Your Honour... I would like to give up giving testimony."
The former tour guide then requested time alone with his lawyer, Mr Irving Choh. After the 15-minute break, Mr Choh made an application for his client to undergo a medical examination by the prison authorities. This is to ascertain and ensure that Yang is "physically and mentally able" to continue giving evidence in court, said Mr Choh.
Judge Marie then agreed to adjourn the hearing to Aug 15 for Yang to undergo medical examination at the Changi Medical Complex, which would determine if there is "good cause" for him to refuse to answer any questions, she said.
Yang had been expected to plead guilty but withdrew that decision last week, saying he had more evidence to submit. He is facing two charges over allegedly misappropriating $500,000 and $600,000 from Madam Chung. The prosecution has sought to poke holes in his statements, and Yang admitted on Thursday (Aug 4) that he had lied in at least one instance when it suited him.
In May, Yang pleaded guilty to 120 other charges, most of which involve falsification of receipts to make it appear that a business he set up was real.
In 2014, Madam Chung's niece, Madam Hedy Mok, began a series of civil actions to strip Yang of any hold over her aunt, claiming he had unduly influenced the old woman.
In 2008, Yang was Madam Chung's private tour guide when she visited Beijing. A year later, he moved in to live with her in her Gerald Crescent bungalow worth an estimated $30 million, and gained power of attorney over her affairs.