Tan Teck Khong and another (suing as Committee of the Estate of Pang Jong Wan) v Tan Pian Meng

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeWoo Bih Li JC
Judgment Date17 July 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGHC 152
Citation[2002] SGHC 152
Subject MatterValidity of will,Whether exercise of undue influence on testator to make will and dispose of property,Whether testator has mental capacity to make will and enter into various transactions to dispose of property,Succession and Wills,Mental capacity of testator,Testamentary capacity,Undue influence
Plaintiff CounselPrabhakaran N Nair and Raadthie Vijayan-Nair (Ong Tan & Nair)
Defendant CounselDaniel John and Damita Nathan (John, Tan & Chan)
Docket NumberSuit No 1072 of 2001
Date17 July 2002
Published date19 September 2003

Judgment Cur Adv Vult



1. This action is brought by Tan Teck Khong and Tan Teck Hing as the Committee of the Estate of Madam Pang Jong Wan. Teck Khong is the eldest son and Teck Hing is the second son of Mdm Pang. They were appointed as her Committee under the Mental Disorders & Treatment Act (Cap 178) (‘the Act’) on 22 January 2001.

2. The Defendant is Tan Pian Meng. He is the third son of Mdm Pang who does not have any daughter. Mdm Pang comes from China and has no formal education (NE 21).

3. In the action, the Plaintiffs seek various reliefs in respect of certain documents or transactions purportedly executed or entered into by Mdm Pang:

    (a) Her first Will dated 22 October 1997 under which Pian Meng is the sole executor and the sole beneficiary.

    (b) Her transfer of a sole-proprietorship known as Canberra Karaoke KTV Pub (‘the Business’) to Pian Meng on 27 November 1997.

    (c) The sale of her property known as 30 Medway Drive (‘30 MD’). The option was granted on 26 May 1998 to a third party and the sale was completed on 31 August 1998. The net sale proceeds were deposited into a joint account of Mdm Pang and Pian Meng and subsequently withdrawn by Pian Meng. The Plaintiffs are not seeking to set aside the sale but want Pian Meng to repay the net sale proceeds.

    (d) The mortgage of Mdm Pang’s other property known as 64/64A Serangoon Garden Way (‘64/64A SGW’) to Keppel Tat Lee Bank (‘KTL’) to secure credit facilities from KTL to Pian Meng. The mortgage was executed by Mdm Pang on 3 November 1999, but dated 22 November 1999. The Plaintiffs are not seeking to set aside the mortgage but want Pian Meng to repay all monies secured by the mortgage and procure the discharge of the mortgage.

    (e) Mdm Pang’s second Will dated 3 November 1999 under which Pian Meng is also the sole executor and the sole beneficiary, except for $10 given to each of the Plaintiffs as the sons of Mdm Pang.

4. The basis of the claim is that Mdm Pang had lacked the mental capacity to execute the documents or agree to the transactions. Alternatively, that she did so under the undue influence of Pian Meng.

5. In this judgment, ‘AEIC’ means Affidavit of Evidence-in-Chief and ‘NE’ means Notes of Evidence which will be followed by a page number and, where appropriate, the number of the line in the page.


6. In or around 1963 or 1966, the parents of the parties started the Business. The mother is Mdm Pang and the father was Tan Suan Kui. There was conflicting evidence as to what the business name was at that time but that is not material. The Business was subsequently carried on in No. 64 SGW and the family lived on top i.e in No. 64A SGW. 64/64A had been bought by the parents in or about 1966 using monies from the Business.

7. On 4 May 1973, 30 MD was registered in the name of the parents as joint tenants. Presumably the purchase monies were also from the Business. Both parents ran the Business with some help from the three sons as and when each was old enough to help out.

8. In 1982, the father died. At the time of the father’s death, Teck Khong was about 32 years of age, Teck Hing was about 25 years of age and Pian Meng was about 24 years of age. Mdm Pang would have been about 57 years of age.

9. 30 MD became registered in Mdm Pang’s sole name, as the remaining joint tenant. 64/64A SGW also became registered in her sole name. As for the Business, Mdm Pang relied primarily on Pian Meng to assist her, but, on all accounts, she was the one in charge. She was a determined person, energetic and sociable (NE 118).

10. Pian Meng appeared to have the highest level of education among the three sons. He stopped his education at ‘A’ levels whereas Teck Khong’s and Teck Hing’s education stopped at Secondary Two or thereabouts.

11. Pian Meng was also the most able of the three sons. After the father’s death, it was he who would help his mother to liaise with bankers i.e Kwangtung Provincial Bank (‘KPB’) and the relevant authorities. He was also the cashier of the Business and was the sole signatory of the Business’ cheques as Mdm Pang did not sign cheques. He had also apparently become a guarantor to KPB, after the father died, whereas neither of the Plaintiffs was a guarantor. He was also instrumental in renovating the business premises in 1986, and persuading Mdm Pang to run a karaoke pub also at the business premises in 1990 (although Teck Khong claimed he was the one who persuaded Mdm Pang), and in 1992 to focus on the karaoke pub business. Teck Khong helped in some cleaning work and acted as a bouncer. Teck Hing worked as a cook.

12. The entire family, including the father, had a gambling habit.

13. The eldest son Teck Khong had a violent temper and often had serious rows with his father. As a result, his father had wanted to disown him. Teck Khong also had serious rows with Mdm Pang.

14. He was married in 1974. He had a daughter from this marriage but his wife divorced him and took the child with her around 1980. He then married a woman from Hainan, China in 1992 and had a son from this marriage. He bought a property in Hainan with the help of Mdm Pang but when he divorced his second wife, that property was transferred to her as part of a divorce settlement.

15. Subsequently, he placed a down payment to buy another property in Hainan, again with the help of Mdm Pang, but the purchase was not completed because the developer had discontinued its business.

16. In or about 1994, Teck Khong asked his mother to make him a partner in the Business but his mother declined.

17. In 1995, he married his third wife, also from Hainan, but this marriage also ended in divorce in 1997.

18. In June or July 1997, Teck Khong caused a fire in 64/64A SGW because of a cigarette butt he had left. As a result, there was a violent quarrel between Mdm Pang and him in which he threw a glass either at her which Pian Meng deflected or he threw a glass onto the ground.

19. In around April 1999, he resided with Pian Meng and his family at rented premises at 47 Walmer Drive. He married a fourth time in 2000. His fourth wife is also from Hainan. She was also residing at 47 Walmer Drive until about July 2000 when Teck Khong and her moved back to 64A SGW. This was because by then Pian Meng’s wife had made a revelation when she had had a quarrel with Pian Meng. Teck Khong said she ‘revealed that [Pian Meng] has swallowed the brothers’ money’ (NE 40). Also, Pian Meng’s mother-in-law was not happy with Teck Khong’s wife (NE 41).

20. The second son, Teck Hing, married one Wang Ah Choo who is known as Anna. She also helped in the Business by working in the kitchen peeling potatoes, cooking and washing the dishes (NE 100). They have three daughters. Apparently, living conditions became crowded at 64A SGW when the third child was born and in 1990, Mdm Pang bought a property known as 3 Cowdray Avenue for Teck Hing and his family to live in. This property was registered in the name of Teck Hing and Pian Meng and Anna’s name was not included. Pian Meng assisted by liaising with the solicitors for the purchase. He suggested that Anna was resentful that she was not registered as a co-owner of 3 Cowdray Avenue. Pian Meng also suggested that Anna had been jealous of him as it was he, more than the other siblings, who was helping Mdm Pang in the Business.

21. As for Pian Meng, he was married to Angela Goh Lee Hoon in 1995 and had a son from the marriage in 1996. He suggested that Mdm Pang was particularly happy to have a grandson. At the time of Mdm Pang’s first stroke, Pian Meng and his family were staying with Mdm Pang and Teck Khong at 64A SGW.

22. Since 1994, Mdm Pang suffered from hypertension and diabetes. There is some dispute as to who would take her to see the doctor. The Plaintiffs say it was Teck Hing and his wife who did so most of the time but Pian Meng said it was he who did this.


23. On or about 16 August 1997, Mdm Pang went to Pow Sing Chicken Rice stall in Serangoon Gardens to buy food for a family dinner for the Hungry Ghost Month. She became disoriented and did not know how to make her way back. Fortunately, the owner of the Chicken Rice stall recognised her and brought her home. He told the Tan family that Mdm Pang had become dazed and confused and while at his stall, she thought she was at the Business’ premises. At that time she was about 72 years of age.

24. It is common ground that she had suffered a stroke that day. I will elaborate later on the medical evidence.

25. According to the Plaintiffs, Mdm Pang stayed with Teck Hing for three months after her stroke before she stayed with Pian Meng. During that time, Pian Meng would take Mdm Pang out for long drives. On a few occasions after they returned, Anna noticed Mdm Pang’s right hand thumb was stained with ink and reported this to Teck Hing. When Pian Meng was confronted about this, he explained that there were forms to be signed before lawyers and banks. The Plaintiffs trusted Pian Meng and did not probe further. This version was not disputed except that according to Pian Meng, Mdm Pang stayed with Teck Hing for three weeks, and not three months, before returning to stay with Pian Meng and his family.

26. In or about February 1998, Pian Meng and his family moved to rented premises at 29 Saint Heliers Avenue. Mdm Pang came to live with them until February 2000.

27. I come now to the AEIC of Mr Colin Caines, a solicitor, whose late partner Mr J S Khosa had acted for Mdm Pang’s husband in respect of the Business and other matters.

28. According to Mr Caines’ AEIC, Pian Meng had telephoned him and informed him that Mdm Pang wanted to make a Will. Soon after that Pian Meng saw Mr Caines in Mr Caines’ office and said that his mother had had a stroke and wanted to make a Will leaving everything to him. Mr Caines advised Pian Meng to get a doctor’s report confirming that she was able to...

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    • January 9, 2019
    ...The respondent cited Tan Teck Khong and another (Committee of the estate of Pang Jong Wan, mentally disordered) v Tan Pian Meng [2002] 2 SLR(R) 490,121 in which the High Court held at [163]–[164] that undue influence could be presumed where the plaintiff showed (a) the existence of a partic......
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