Ming Yi spent millions

By Carolyn Quek, The Straits Times, July 17, 2009

Some were bought even as charity hospital was struggling to find funds

Singapore -- IN 1998, FORMER Ren Ci CEO Ming Yi bought properties and assets in Perth, Australia, including a plot of land - where a house was built later - a BMW car, a country club membership and a horse.

<< Ming Yi had bought assets such as a bungalow, a BMW car, a horse and a country club membership in Australia. He is seen here with co-accused Raymond Yeung. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Over the last 20 years, the Buddhist monk has bought and sold at least seven properties, spending millions of dollars altogether. Some of these properties were to house religious causes, while others appeared to have been bought for investments or for Ming Yi's own use.

On Friday, in his trial for falsifying documentation and misappropriation, the prosecution produced evidence of these purchases to show that some assets were bought even as the charity hospital he founded in 1994 was struggling to find funding.

The trial centres on a $50,000 loan made out in 2004 to Ming Yi's former aide, Raymond Yeung, which the prosecution argues was improper and unlawful. Ming Yi, 47, faces four charges while Yeung, 34, is also accused in two of them.

The court heard that Ming Yi's first property was in Mountbatten Road, bought in the late 1980s, which he used as the site of Chao Yin Lodge, a Buddhist charity that he ran. A devotee helped with the downpayment and others chipped in for the instalments, but Ming Yi was the registered owner. The property was sold in 1994 and the proceeds used to buy a two-storey semi-detached house worth $1.48 million in Bedok Ria Crescent, as the new site of the lodge. A year later, Ming Yi also purchased a $1.38 million condominium in Meyer Road.

In July 1998, the monk and a former Ren Ci treasurer, Mr Wee Beng Seng, bought a piece of land in Perth, Australia, on which they later built a house. They sold it in 2002. Ming Yi also bought a BMW and country club membership in Australia. Another purchase was a show horse, which he sold subsequently when he found out that the trainer was using it for racing.

Some time in 2002, the monk also bought a two-storey bungalow in Melbourne with Yeung, which they sold two years later for a penthouse in the same area. The two owned other BMWs, which were gifts from an elderly monk, there.

The extravagance did not sit well with the prosecution. In earlier testimony, Ming Yi had told the court, sometimes tearfully, that Ren Ci had struggled to stay afloat in the early years. He was reminded of this on Friday by Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaswant Singh, who accused him of building up a property empire. The DPP asked: 'All this while, Ren Ci was floundering and you did not sell your properties to help Ren Ci?'

Ming Yi said he had thought about it, but knew he would be saddled with the outstanding bank loans. 'I do admit, I am not one good person who knows how to manage property because I borrow money from the banks but use the money for other things so the loans just go on,' he said. The monk admitted that he was 'easy with money' but denied he was similarly so with Ren Ci's money. Admitting he had his flaws, he noted: 'But that does not mean that I am not taking good care of Ren Ci and Foo Hai Chan Monastery.'

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv