Sin Sai Peng and Another v Soh Kim Lian Florence

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeTan Lee Meng J
Judgment Date10 October 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGHC 233
Citation[2002] SGHC 233
Subject MatterPlaintiffs' later claiming payment of unpaid balance,Sale and purchase of property,Whether vendor entitled to balance of unpaid purchase price,Appropriate approach in resolving dispute,Vendors claiming outstanding balance,Whether vendors claiming correct amount,Equity,Mistress agreeing to buy plaintiffs' apartment,Landlord and Tenant,Remedies,Contract,Mistress of husband moving in and living together with his family,Sale of land,Parties continuing to live together in apartment,Plaintiffs' acknowledging receipt of full purchase price,Whether plaintiffs' claim for maintenance fees and property tax valid and reasonable,Presumption of advancement,Land,Vendors acknowledging receipt of full purchase price,Rent and service charges,Formation,Mistress paying part of apartment's purchase price leaving balance unpaid,Plaintiffs claiming various moneys and expenses,Whether purchaser can claim for loss of rental when issue of entitlement to vacant possession not settled,Mistress claiming vacant possession,Intention of parties,Whether presumption arises,Whether to grant vacant possession,Whether defendant encouraging plaintiffs to renovate apartment,Loss of rental,Part payment of purchase price,Whether plaintiffs having vendor's lien,Whether purchaser entitled to vacant possession of property
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselSuhaimi bin Lazim and Chua Beng Chye ( Shook Lin & Bok )
Defendant CounselAlphonso Ang and Koh Tien Hua ( A Ang, Seah & Hoe )
Docket NumberSuit No 1409 of 2001
Date10 October 2002

Judgment Cur Adv Vult

GROUNDS OF DECISION

1. In their statement of claim, the first plaintiff, Mr Sin Sai Peng ("Patrick"), and his wife, the second plaintiff, Madam Lee Kim Me, claimed the sum of $271,795 from the defendant, Madam Florence Soh Kim Lian, who was Patrick’s mistress from 1981 until September 1997. The plaintiffs contended that the sum claimed was the unpaid balance of the purchase price of No 97C, Upper Thomson Road, #05-11 Lakeview, Singapore 574329 (the "Lakeview apartment"), which was transferred by them to Florence in 1994. Florence denied owing the plaintiffs any money for the purchase of the Lakeview apartment and sought, inter alia, an order for vacant possession of the said property.

[A] BACKGROUND

2. This is a sordid tale of a bitter dispute involving a man, his loyal and long-suffering wife and his former mistress. For the ostensible purpose of advancing their respective cases, Patrick and Florence hurled countless allegations of sexual misconduct and perversion against each other. Both of them ought to have realised that the lurid details of their alleged sexual activities had nothing to do with what is essentially a dispute regarding the ownership of property.

3. In 1981, Patrick, a marine engineer, who was already married to Madam Lee, began an affair with Florence, who was then a clerk. He was 33 years old whereas she was only 21. In 1989, Patrick brought his mistress to his matrimonial home at Lakeview to meet his wife without giving the latter any prior notice. His purpose was, in his own words, to "increase the interaction" between the two women in his life. When he brought Florence to the Lakeview apartment a second time, his wife left the matrimonial home for a few days. After this incident, Patrick had to wait for an opportune moment to ask his wife to meet Florence again.

4. In August 1990, Florence gave birth to a baby boy, A. Patrick, who had always wanted a son, was overjoyed. Florence was then living with her sister in Jurong and Patrick thought that it would be more convenient for him and Florence if she, and their son, Jason, had their own home. He arranged for her to buy a 5-room HDB flat in Tampines (the "Tampines flat") for $162,500. He contributed $61,000 for the flat, which was registered in Florence’s name, and she paid the balance of the purchase price with money from her CPF account and a housing loan. She paid the monthly instalments for the loan as well as the conservancy and utility bills.

5. In the latter part of 1991, Patrick told his wife that he and Florence had a son. He expressed his desire to have Florence and Jason become "an integral part of the family". Madam Lee was hurt and angry but she agreed to meet Florence and Jason. Apparently, the meeting was a cordial one and Madam Lee played with Jason for two hours. After that meeting, Patrick often brought Florence and Jason to the Lakeview apartment.

6. In early 1992, Patrick told his wife that he wanted Florence and Jason to live with them in the Lakeview apartment. Madam Lim said that she agreed with her husband’s plan as she was very fond of Jason. Furthermore, she accepted that it was troublesome for her husband to commute between Lakeview and Tampines.

7. Why Florence, who had her own spacious flat at Tampines, agreed to move into the Lakeview apartment in early 1992 cannot be fathomed. At the Lakeview apartment, she had to share a room with her son, Jason, her maid and Patrick’s aged mother. Florence said that she felt very awkward in the Lakeview apartment but agreed to live there as she loved Patrick and he was a domineering man. The Tampines flat was then rented out for $800 per month and Florence accepted Patrick’s suggestion that she give Madam Lee half the rental as a gesture of goodwill.

8. The occupants of the Lakeview apartment got on well enough for a while. In November 1992, Florence gave birth to a girl, B. Patrick, Madam Lee, Florence and their children had innumerable outings in Singapore and vacations in Malacca, Genting Highlands, Port Dickson, Kuala Lumpur and Bali. According to Madam Lee, her relationship with Florence grew warmer with the passing days. Florence called her "sister" and A called her "mum".

9. In 1993, the plaintiffs, who made a profit of $180,000 on the sale of their other apartment at Thomson Grove Condominium, wanted to purchase an apartment at Faber Garden (the "Faber apartment"). Florence said that Patrick suggested that she sell the Tampines flat and buy the Lakeview apartment from him and his wife in order to help them purchase the Faber apartment. The plaintiffs denied that they needed funds from the sale of the Tampines flat to help them purchase the Faber apartment and claimed that they sold the Lakeview apartment at a discounted price of $380,000 to Florence because of their affection for her, A and B. It is worth noting that although the plaintiffs said that the Lakeview apartment was then worth around $600,000, Richard Ellis’ valuation report on 29 November 1993 stated that the apartment was worth only $450,000 on the open market and added that its forced sale value was merely $405,000.

10. On 5 November 1993, the Tampines flat was sold for $285,000 and on 23 November 1993, the plaintiffs signed the sale and purchase agreement for No 6, Angklong Lane, #09-04 Faber Gardens, for $808,000. Soon thereafter, on 6 December 1993, the sale and purchase agreement for the Lakeview apartment was signed by Patrick, his wife and Florence. As the completion date for the sale of the Tampines flat was scheduled for February 1994, Patrick moved all the occupants of the Lakeview apartment to the Tampines flat for about one and a half months so that the Lakeview apartment could be renovated. After the renovation work was completed, everyone moved back to the Lakeview apartment.

11. After receiving the proceeds from the sale of her Tampines flat, Florence issued a cheque dated 6 April 1994 for $170,000 in favour of Patrick. Florence also paid Patrick and his wife $50,800 from her CPF account and $58,000 from a POSB loan. Although the total amount paid by Florence for the Lakeview apartment fell short of the purchase price of $380,000, Patrick and his wife signed a note confirming that they had received full payment of the purchase price and the legal title to the Lakeview apartment was transferred to Florence in May 1994. Until the present dispute arose, Patrick and his wife did not demand from Florence the unpaid balance of the purchase price.

12. By 1995, relations between Patrick and Florence soured. Patrick alleged that Florence had an affair with a Greek national, George Pililis, a married man. Florence claimed that she entertained George at Patrick’s request to improve his business network. After frequent quarrels, Florence and her two children moved out of the Lakeview apartment in September 1997. She said that she left because of the plaintiffs’ refusal to vacate the property and Patrick’s intolerable and unreasonable behaviour towards her. A bitter battle for custody of the two children ensued.

13. After leaving the Lakeview apartment, Florence’s lawyers demanded that the plaintiffs vacate the said property. In response to this, the plaintiffs placed a caveat on the Lakeview apartment on 26 September 1997. On 1 April 1999, Florence’s lawyers again demanded that the plaintiffs vacate the Lakeview apartment. In 1998, Florence started to pay the maintenance fees and sinking fund levied on the said property. She paid the...

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2 cases
  • Ho Seek Yueng Novel and Another v J & V Development Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 18 April 2006
    ...can (as in the present proceedings) be furnished (and see the Singapore High Court decision of Sin Sai Peng v Soh Kim Lian Florence [2002] 4 SLR 681). 19 Importantly, I found Mr Tan to be basically a witness of truth. Unlike the second plaintiff, he did not, on the whole, attempt to evade c......
  • Ho Seek Yueng Novel and Another v J & V Development Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 18 April 2006
    ...can (as in the present proceedings) be furnished (and see the Singapore High Court decision of Sin Sai Peng v Soh Kim Lian Florence [2002] 4 SLR 681). 19 Importantly, I found Mr Tan to be basically a witness of truth. Unlike the second plaintiff, he did not, on the whole, attempt to evade c......

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