Woman married, cut off man for Sydney home

·3-min read

A gambling addict exploited an elderly man suffering dementia through multiple marriages and isolation to secure his Sydney property, a judge has found.

While Justice Geoff Lindsay did not find that Lisa Tsui Pen Chiang was "gold-digging" her way through two prior marriages, he nullified her third wedlock to Lo Sing Ip, referring to ample evidence of his deteriorating mental state.

"At the time of the alleged marriage, the deceased was an elderly, unsophisticated man suffering cognitive impairment, probably the result of vascular dementia," Justice Lindsay said in his NSW Supreme Court judgment this week.

According to Dominic Pak, Mr Ip's doctor of 25-years before he died, the patient was poorly educated, could not understand English and could only speak a particular dialect of Cantonese, while Ms Chiang spoke Mandarin.

The late Mr Ip was a pensioner, a house in Sydney's Redfern his only asset.

Ms Chiang, 20 years younger than him was described as "an intelligent, sophisticated, determined, forceful and well-travelled woman".

"Knowing that the deceased was vulnerable to exploitation, she set out to exploit him," Justice Lindsay said.

Not long after his wife of 32 years died, Mr Ip met Ms Chiang and she moved in with him in April 2013.

Immediately after the wedding ceremony in September steps were taken to make her a joint tenant.

Soon after family inquired how her name appeared on his property and he said words to the effect: "I never signed anything. It is my property. Someone has stolen my property. We need to get the police to do something."

During their marriage Ms Chiang spent more days abroad than at home, often gambling, and the pair were officially divorced by 2015.

That year Mr Ip was put into a nursing home and remained there until his death.

Mr Ip first met Wing Tong Ip in China, who he invited to Australia and became known to all as "his son". Wing Tong Ip, his wife and children interacted with Mr Ip as a family until they became isolated by Ms Chiang.

They had no idea when Mr Ip then married Lanying Guo in 2016, the former mother-in-law of Ms Chiang, who arranged the entire proceedings but did not attend because she was "very sad that (he) was marrying another woman".

"More likely, she sought to distance herself from the event as it happened," Justice Lindsay said.

Documents show he signed over the property to Ms Chiang in 2016, with claims she paid him $150,000 cash for his interest in the estate, but evidence of this has been disputed by the court.

After Ms Chiang gained control of the house she took out a $150,000 loan and spent it at Sydney's Star Casino, close to where she subsequently bought a home in Pyrmont after selling the Redfern dwelling.

When Mr Ip died in 2017 neither Ms Chiang nor Ms Guo attended the funeral, sent flowers or offered condolences. The service was paid for by Wing Tong Ip and his partner, Xiao Feng Ip, nee Liang, also known as Lisa Ip, who is currently suing Ms Chiang.

Justice Lindsay said Mr Ip lacked the capacity to marry Ms Chiang, sign over his property, and that given her "unconscionable dealing" in the matter must account for all rent, profits and benefits received from the Redfern house.

Both parties have been asked to make submissions regarding costs to be paid by Ms Chiang.

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