Ming Yi On Trial: FLIP-FLOP

by
Ming Yi On TrialSighs in court over monk’s indecisive aide

FLIP-FLOP
He isn’t sure if stock profit in S’pore or HK dollars and when he quit Ren Ci

By Andre Yeo

July 30, 2009 Print Ready Email Article

DO A flip during a Ren Ci charity show and you’ll receive thunderous applause.

Click to see larger image
ST FILE PICTURE

Do the same thing in court and you get sighs of frustration.

That’s how the gallery greeted Raymond Yeung’s flip-flops during his ongoing trial.

The 34-year-old is being jointly tried with Shi Ming Yi, 47, the founder and former CEO of Ren Ci Hospital who is accused of making an unauthorised $50,000 loan on 17 May 2004 to Yeung, his former personal aide.

Yesterday Deputy Public Prosecutor David Chew continued with his cross-examination of Yeung, a former hotel receptionist and Cathay Pacific air steward.

Yeung had claimed he wanted to settle the loan in one lump sum.

But Mr Chew found this to be unbelievable. After all, Yeung was still splurging on luxury items when he could have used the money to repay the loan. That led to…

Flip-flop 1

Yeung had earlier said he borrowed $40,000 from Ren Ci’s first and former treasurer, Mr Wee Beng Seng, 54, to repay the loan.

Yeung said he then repaid Mr Wee in two weeks by selling his shares in Hong Kong for a profit.

Not true, said Mr Chew. The only reason he said Yeung repaid the $50,000 was because auditors Ernst & Young was looking into the Mandala loan in December 2006.

Said Yeung: ‘I agree half and disagree with the other half.’

District Judge Toh Yung Cheong wanted Yeung to confirm when he had bought his shares. Yeung replied it was at the beginning of 2004.

Mr Toh asked how much the shares cost when he had bought them. Yeung said S$10,000.

So how much did you sell them for, asked the judge.

Yeung claimed that the shares were not in his name but that an unnamed friend had helped him buy them.

He claimed that in March 2007, he managed to get back more than $20,000. He did not state the currency.

But in the same sentence he changed his mind, saying it was ‘around’ $30,000.

That figure changed yet again, increasing in value by 10 times, in the next sentence. It was actually $300,000, Yeung claimed.

This confused the court.

Judge Toh tried to clarify matters: ‘He sold them for less than $300,000?’

Well, no.

He had sold them for more than S$300,000, said Yeung.

He corrected himself again. The buying price should have been more than HK$100,000 and not S$10,000.

This prompted the judge to ask: ‘But the selling price is in Singapore dollars?’

At this, Yeung again amended his testimony saying: ‘Sorry, sir, all in Hong Kong dollars. The buy and the sell, all in Hong Kong dollars.’

At this point, the interpreter rolled his eyes. Some members of the gallery let out sighs of frustration.

Judge Toh wanted to clarify things further and asked: ‘You spent more than HK$100,000 and sold them for less than HK$300,000?’

‘Yes,’ was Yeung’s final reply on the subject.

The judge wanted to know if the shares were publicly listed but Yeung said he wasn’t sure. He said: ‘I should think so. My friend handled the matter for me. I only know I made a profit.’

Mr Chew wanted to know what HK$300,000 was worth in Singapore currency and Yeung offered an estimate saying it was around S$60,000.

Later in the day, Mr Chew returned to the shares issue.

He wanted to know the name of the company which issued the shares.

Yeung said his friend had told him it was China Mining Industry.

When asked if he actually owned the shares, Yeung said he gave his friend money to invest, so the shares were not in his name but in his friend’s.

So Yeung had no control over when to sell the shares, asked Mr Chew.

No, Yeung admitted.

It prompted Mr Chew to say: ‘So when you earlier said you were waiting to sell your shares (to repay the loan), is not entirely true since you have no control over them.’

Yeung said he trusted his friend, who would tell him when the share price rose.

Flip-flop 2: Resignation

Yeung had said he tendered his resignation on 1 June 2007 as his mother wanted him back in Hong Kong.

Any other reason, asked Mr Chew.

Yeung said he had found a job at the Tze Ming Buddhist Centre in Hong Kong.

Mr Chew pointed out that the abbot of that centre was Ming Yi.

And although Yeung was supposed to be working in Hong Kong in July, Mr Chew said he was still using a credit card he shared with Ming Yi in Singapore that month.

Yeung said since he was in Singapore, his transactions would be made here. He continued to use the credit card here in August.

The trial continues today.


ABOUT THE CASE

MING Yi faces 10 charges of fraud, forgery and misappropriating $350,000.

He is accused of providing false or misleading information to the Commissioner of Charities, conspiracy to falsify a payment voucher and the misappropriation of Ren Ci funds.

One charge is that he gave Yeung an unauthorised $50,000 loan on 17 May 2004 to pay for the renovation of Yeung’s Hong Kong flat.

The money was supposedly lent by Ren Ci to the Mandala Buddhist Cultural Centre, a shop that sells Buddhist artefacts, which Yeung ran.

Yeung has been charged with conspiring to forge a Ren Ci document and giving false information to the Commissioner of Charities.

Yeung is an Australian citizen and a Singapore permanent resident.

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