Sons lose $7 million house to father's mistress

SINGAPORE - The fight for prominent psychiatrist Wong Yip Chong's $7 million house has ended with the judge ruling in favour of Dr Wong's long-time mistress, Madam Patricia Ling Ai Wah.

Dr Wong's two sons - neurologist Meng Cheong, 54, and locum doctor Meng Leong, 49, - had taken legal action in an attempt to block Madam Ling, 60, from getting the house, even though their father had always treated her as his wife.

Dr Wong, 82, who now has Alzheimer's disease, has lived in the Chancery Hill Road house with Madam Patricia Ling Ai Wah, 60, for 30 years.

According to the Straits Times, he met Madam Ling in 1969, when she was his clinic assistant. They began a relationship after his wife, Madam Tan Kim Yam, developed schizophrenia.

The presiding judge, Justice Lai Siu Chiu, noted that the "unfortunate" and "sad" case, should never have gone to court.

She chastised the two sons for acting in their interests rather than their father's and said "they have used their father's incapacity to try and wrest as much of his assets from him as possible".

She added: "'If he realised what's happening today, he'll be heartbroken."

According to the Straits Times, the house was bought in 1981 under Madam Ling's sole name, funded by the sales proceeds of a Whitley Road property Dr Wong had given her in 1976.

The house was later transferred to his company, and then to himself before being put in their joint names.

Justice Lai rejected Meng Cheong and Meng Leong's claims that he was mentally incompetent in 2004 when he signed the document making Madam Ling the joint owner of the house.

They sued Madam Ling in their capacity as members of the Committee of Persons appointed by the court in 2005 to manage their father's financial affairs.

The third member of the committee is their half-brother Meng Weng, son of Madam Ling and Dr Wong, whom Justice Lai noted showed "complete disinterest" in his father's assets.

Meng Weng, 35, described himself as a programmer when he presented himself in court.

Justice Lai also granted applications by Madam Ling and Meng Weng to reverse previous court orders, the first of which would remove Meng Cheong and Meng Leong from the Committee of Persons.

The second was a court order in 2006 awarding Meng Cheong $1 million from his father's assets. He has agreed to refund the money.

The third was a court order giving the committee powers to sell their father's assets on the grounds that he was running low on cash, reported the Straits Times.

Justice Lai also made an 'unconventional order' - that Madam Ling's wishes on Dr Wong's care should prevail over everybody else's.

Madam Ling will decide whether Dr Wong should continue living with Meng Cheong, which he has done since February last year, move back to Chancery Hill Road, or stay in a hospital.

With tears in her eyes, Madam Ling told the Straits Times she was "very grateful" for the verdict, while Meng Cheong said he would be seeking legal advice.