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    Oct 16, 2014

    Ex-tour guide set up 'sham' music firm

    CHINESE national Yang Yin was so determined to make a new life in Singapore that he hired a specialised recruitment firm here in 2009 to set up his company and apply for an Employment Pass (EP), as a prelude to getting permanent resident status.

    But the music and dance firm has seen no students in the five years since it was registered, said a maid there.

    The studio's address is listed as the bungalow of the wealthy widow who handed control of her $40 million in assets to the former tour guide in 2012, after he became a Singapore PR.

    "I did not see (him teach) any students," said Indonesian maid Surti, 43, who has been working there since 2007. She works for Chung Khin Chun, 87, the woman at the centre of a legal storm involving Mr Yang, 40, and her niece Hedy Mok, 60, who believes he manipulated her aunt into giving him Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

    When reporters visited the home on Saturday, the only instrument in sight was a dusty piano with rusted hinges.

    Retired teacher Chang Phie Chin, 84, a good friend of the widow who used to live at the bungalow, said in court papers that the company was a "sham".

    Back in March 2009, local recruitment firm Rikvin helped Mr Yang set up the Young Music and Dance Studio, with him as managing director. A month later, the firm applied for an EP on Mr Yang's behalf, which he didn't get. But Rikvin's second application in September was successful, according to The Straits Times' checks. By then, Mr Yang was already ensconced in Madam Chung's $30 million Yio Chu Kang home. The rest of his family moved in last year.

    In court papers last month, Mr Yang, who befriended the old woman when he was her personal guide in Beijing in 2008, said that she had invited him to Singapore to look after her and wanted him as her "grandson".

    "The company was incorporated so that I could run a business and obtain my Singapore permanent residency," he said.

    When The Straits Times visited Rikvin's Equity Plaza office this week, its chief operating officer, Satish Bakhda, confirmed that Mr Yang was one of its 4,000 clients. He said that while he had not met the man, its services were totally above board.

    The firm also provided him with professional secretary Lim Soh Sea, 44, who is a company secretary to more than 1,000 local firms, according to Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) records. She met Mr Yang for the first time two weeks ago, when he went to the office to pick up some files.

    When asked if his firm had scrutinised Mr Yang's application, Mr Satish, speaking generally, said that it was not its place to do so, and that with his firm processing thousands of applications, a few "rotten apples" were bound to sneak in.

    "You can't crosscheck everybody," he said, adding that while Rikvin had helped Mr Yang submit annual accounts to Acra through his firm, "we did not do their accounts".

    Meanwhile, a court hearing yesterday on two applications by Madam Chung's niece, was adjourned until Oct 29. Madam Mok had earlier applied to be appointed her aunt's deputy with full powers - which would allow her to decide on all of Madam Chung's matters. She also applied to revoke Mr Yang's LPA.

    The Family Court will be hearing a separate case tomorrow brought by the Office of the Public Guardian to determine whether Madam Chung has the mental capacity to revoke the LPA she granted Mr Yang in 2012, which she now wants to do. She was examined by an Institute of Mental Health medical expert yesterday, as ordered by the court.

    Mr Yang also faces separate investigations by the police for suspected criminal breach of trust, and by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and Manpower Ministry on how he obtained his permanent residency and EP, among others.