SINGAPORE: Former China tour guide Yang Yin was entrusted with S$500,000 by an 89-year-old Singaporean widow to buy a painting, but he did not use it for its intended purpose and instead procured a replica as a cover-up.
This was the case put forward by the prosecution, as the trial of the 42-year-old resumed on Monday (Aug 15). It comes on the back of a medical report certifying that Yang was fit to continue giving evidence.
Yang is accused of misappropriating S$500,000 from Madam Chung Khin Chun in 2010, and another S$600,000 in 2012.
Yang initially said the S$500,000 was used to buy a painting titled Horse Drinking Water by prominent Chinese artist Xu Beihong, upon Madam Chung's instructions.
But he later changed his mind, claiming that the money was a gift from Madam Chung and he had used it to pay off his family's medical debts.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani said this story was a "fabrication".
The DPP referred to a receipt found among Yang's possessions in the Gerald Crescent bungalow where he had lived with Madam Chung. The receipt, dated Mar 1, 2010, was made out for a painting titled Horse Drinking Water by Xu Beihong, costing approximately S$500,000.
But Yang maintained that he did not recognise the receipt and had never seen it before.
The prosecution also suggested that Yang had procured the receipt to deceive Madam Chung into thinking that he had bought the painting.
In a previous court session on Aug 5, Yang said he was “very stressed” and no longer wanted to be cross-examined by the prosecution. Deputy Presiding Judge of the State Courts Jennifer Marie had adjourned the hearing then for Yang to undergo a checkup at Changi Medical Centre.
During Monday's court session, Yang appeared agitated, rocking back and forth in his seat, at one point prompting the deputy public prosecutor to ask if he was OK.
Yang also put forward a request to leave Changi Prison for a few days to find more evidence. However, Deputy Presiding Judge of the State Courts Jennifer Marie said that this was not an appropriate application to make.
Before the lunch break, Yang indicated that he was considering pleading guilty and asked to speak with his lawyer.
The hearing continues on Aug 16.