July 17, 2009
By Carolyn Quek
The former Ren Ci Hospital CEO, Ming Yi told a court on Friday that he is a "modern-day monk". --ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
THE former Ren Ci Hospital CEO told a court on Friday that he is a 'modern-day monk'.
'Easy with money'
WHEN quizzed, the monk admitted that he was "easy with money" but denied that he had similarly been easy with Ren Ci's money.
"Buddhist monks, we are no more living in the mountains. We are not living in the forest. We are in the city now," he said.
Buddhist monk Ming Yi's admission came after his assets were brought to light at the resumed hearing of the criminal trial against the 47-year-old and his former personal aide, Raymond Yeung.
Ming Yi is accused of forgery, providing false or misleading information to the Commissioner of Charities, conspiracy to falsify a payment voucher and the misappropriation of Ren Ci funds. Yeung is a co-accused on two of the charges.
It was revealed in court on Friday that Ming Yi's assets started with a property in Mountbatten Road in the late 80s- the site of Chao Yin Lodge - which the monk used to run. A devotee had helped with the downpayment and other devotees chipped in for the subsequent instalments.
This property was then sold off, and with the money, a two-storey semi-detached house in Bedok Ria Crescent, worth $1.48 million, was bought in 1994, the new site of the lodge.
But Ming Yi also bought a $1.38 million condominium on Meyer Road a year later, which he claimed was for investment.
He then set his sights oversees when he and his disciple and ex-Ren Ci treasurer, Mr Wee Beng Seng, bought a piece of land worth A$87,000 in 1998.
With that land, he built a house worth almost A$300,000.
His purchases in Australia also extended beyond property.There was a BMW S540 executive series which he bought there in late 1998.
Mr Wee and Ming Yi also joined a premier country club in Perth that year, paying almost A$30,000 to join.
Ming Yi also bought a horse the next year but sold it off subsequently when he found that the trainer was using it for racing.
There was also a property in Seattle.
Sometime in 2002, Ming Yi also bought a two-storey bungalow in Melbourne with Yeung. This was sold off two years later for a penthouse in the same area. The two also owned BMWs - gifts from an elderly monk - there.