Who is Singaporean businessman David Yong from Netflix show Super Rich In Korea?

Who is Singaporean businessman David Yong from Netflix show Super Rich In Korea?

Who is Singaporean businessman David Yong from Netflix show Super Rich In Korea?l


SINGAPORE – In the Netflix series Super Rich In Korea, Singaporean businessman David Yong made an entrance that demanded attention.


The opening scene shows Mr Yong, 37, alighting from a private jet, carrying a luxury Hermes bag. Scenes unfold with him indulging in extravagant branded item shopping sprees, casually declaring: “I will buy them all.”


Another scene shows him with a realtor, viewing a unit in the luxury apartment complex La Terrasse in Hannam district, one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in Seoul.


“I want to buy it,” he asserts, brushing off the 16 billion won (S$15.6 million) price tag as being inconsequential.


In the six-part series released on May 7, Mr Yong – whose full name is Yong Khung Lin – is featured as one of the cast members of the “super rich” alongside personalities like popular Iraq-born YouTuber and influencer Noor Naim, and Italian Teodoro Marani, the son of the chief executive and designer behind luxury fashion label Henry Beguelin.


The show portrays Mr Yong as someone accustomed to immense riches and privilege. He has a cash-counting machine in his home in South Korea, which is a rented apartment at Signiel Seoul – an upscale residence located in South Korea’s tallest building, Lotte World Tower.


In one scene, Mr Yong – the chief executive of Evergreen Group Holdings – proclaimed: “I’m Singapore’s top 1 per cent super rich.”


Asked about his net worth in an interview, Mr Yong told The Straits Times that he estimated it to be above US$10 million (S$13.5 million).


In an August 2023 appearance on the South Korean variety show Unpredictable Fortunetellers, which was posted on YouTube, he told the hosts that he has investments and assets amounting to around US$90 million.


When asked about the differing figures, Mr Yong said: “That show was talking about the property investments that we have, and we add it up here and there, it’s about US$90 million, not that I am directly worth US$90 million. It’s more like, we have all these investments across multiple countries, we add it up, it is about US$90 million.”


His businesses


He went on to describe a business empire built on the foundations of his father’s timber firm.


Records from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) show that Evergreen Group Holdings, formerly known as Evergreen Teak Trading until its name change in 2022, is primarily a general importer, exporter, and commission agent. It also does luxury goods and art trading.


Mr Yong’s father Yong Ing Fatt is the sole director and shareholder of the company, which was incorporated in 1990 with a paid-up capital of $490,000.


“Timber is a very traditional industry. In a way, it is becoming a sunset industry,” said Mr Yong, who holds a law degree and is a partner at Yong, Seow & Lim Legal in Singapore.


This prompted him to build more portfolios for the company, he said, claiming that he diversified the business to financing investments across South-east Asia, into Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam, and dipped his toes into entertainment in South Korea.


Mr Yong added that Evergreen Group Holdings owns a financial institution in Cambodia and four commercial units in Singapore. He said that as at 2023, the company brought in annual revenue of more than $70 million across Asia.


The company’s latest available financial records filed with Acra revealed far more modest figures: a revenue of $7.8 million in 2019 and a profit after tax of $221,033. There are no records available after 2019.


Checks by ST showed Mr Yong owns two units, each approximately 1,800 sq ft, at an industrial building in Jurong.


The two industrial units are owned by VDL International, which Mr Yong set up in 2014.


According to Acra records, OCBC Bank had registered three charges on VDL International between 2021 and 2023. Standard Chartered Bank placed another four charges on the company in 2024.


A charge is a form of security interest usually taken by a lender or creditor – “chargee” – to secure repayment of a loan.


Business records in Cambodia showed that the financial institution owned by Evergreen Group Holdings – Evergreen Microfinance – holds a non-deposit microfinance licence, allowing it to give small loans but not accept deposits in Cambodia. Mr Yong and his father are listed as directors, with two Cambodian employees.


Checks by ST found that a Singaporean named Yong Khung Lin, sharing Mr Yong’s full name and date of birth, obtained Cambodian citizenship through naturalisation on Jan 10, 2023.


A royal decree published by the official Royal Gazette of Cambodia, seen by ST, confirmed that Yong Khung Lin’s name was changed to Duong Dara under the new nationality. 


Asked if he had obtained Cambodian citizenship, Mr Yong denied it and dismissed the matter as “false news”. He said he has no intention of giving up Singaporean citizenship.


Singapore does not allow its adult citizens to hold dual citizenship.


Mr Yong is also the sole shareholder of Evergreen GH, which was incorporated in 2018. He ceased to be a director of the firm in December 2023. Acra records state the company’s primary business activity as “wholesale trade of a variety of goods without a dominant product”.


Evergreen GH was placed on the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Investor Alert List on Jan 27, 2023, to warn consumers in Singapore that the company is not regulated or licensed to provide financial services in Singapore.


The MAS Investor Alert List flags companies that are not licensed by MAS, but may have given investors the impression that they were sanctioned by the Singapore regulator.


When asked about being placed on the MAS Investor Alert List, Mr Yong claimed that his company’s name was fraudulently used by scammers, and he had since made a police report. He also showed ST a copy of the police report made in March 2023.


Acra records also show that between 2013 and 2020, Mr Yong was a director and/or shareholder of 16 companies, seven of which have since been struck off. Notable among these are Evercloud Learning, Evergreen Credit and Leasing, Evergreen Lifestyle Holdings and Mu Restaurant.


“Business was bad, we didn’t make money, so we had to close the shop,” said Mr Yong on the closure of House of Mu restaurant in Mohamed Sultan Road which operated for less than two years.


Foray into South Korea


Mr Yong, who is known for his K-pop ties in South Korea, had announced in 2022 that he signed a global agency contract as an “influencer CEO” under South Korean entertainment company Rainbowbridge World (RBW).


He has released songs such as In My Pocket, Dripping and Maybe Love, which features RBW artiste Moonbyul of the girl group Mamamoo.


In 2023, he garnered a wave of press in the country when he announced that Evergreen Group Holdings would invest around 10 billion won in the K-pop label and agency Attrakt, which is known for producing the rookie girl group Fifty Fifty. A press release sent by Evergreen Group Holdings then boldly labelled Mr Yong “a knight in shining armour, reviving Attrakt”.


Turning to his outing in Super Rich In Korea, Mr Yong emphasised the Netflix show’s unscripted nature and the longer-than-expected airtime he got.


“This show is trying to be as real as possible to convey my real thoughts and feelings,” he said.


Mr Yong showed his house in Singapore in the opening episode – a four-storey “villa”. He also said he has 11 cars, including three in Singapore – a Rolls-Royce, a Porsche and a McLaren. 


He said the property belonged to his family and that it was owned by his father, when asked by ST.


But ST’s checks found that the Singapore four-storey “villa” featured on the show is a rented 3,000 sq ft terraced house in Siglap, owned by someone unrelated to Mr Yong. According to property portal EdgeProp, the rental for a similar property ranges between $9,000 and $12,000 per month.


When ST raised the discrepancy in a subsequent interview, Mr Yong said: “My family is preparing to move... because they sold their house, they’re preparing to move into a separate place... So this is a temporary place.”


Asked about his cars in Singapore, Mr Yong said he bought and owned all three vehicles, having purchased the McLaren and Rolls-Royce for close to a million each, and the Porsche for close to half a million.


Checks showed that the Porsche Macan 2.0, which was shown in the Netflix series, is also not owned by Mr Yong, but by his father. The vehicle, first registered in March 2015, was bought used. 


According to the 2015 price list by Porsche Singapore posted on car portal Sgcarmart, a brand-new Porsche Macan 2.0 cost $218,888 without the certificate of entitlement (COE). The COE for cars above 1,600cc was reportedly $68,668 and $71,889 in March that year.


Hence, a brand-new Porsche Macan would cost below $300,000 in 2015.


Checks by ST showed that Mr Yong is the sixth owner of the 12-year-old Rolls-Royce Ghost, and he had paid nearly $820,000 for the used 2021 McLaren GT in 2022.


Part of the series also features a realtor taking him around to look at expensive apartments to buy in Seoul. Besides La Terrasse, he also viewed a unit at the apartment complex Raemian One Bailey in the Banpo neighbourhood.


When asked, he said he did not buy the two units featured in the series, but is currently in talks to purchase a separate unit in Hannam that costs around US$10 million. 


He also clarified that the private jet seen in the show is chartered and does not belong to him.


Mr Yong said he was happy with the outcome of the show, and has received positive feedback in direct messages and comments on Instagram from viewers around the world.


“I think that nowadays, the viewers, what they want to see is real stuff, real things. Viewers are very sharp, that’s my view, I try to act or try to fool them, you know, try to be somebody I am not, they can tell,” he said.


Lee, J. L. J. (2024, June 3). Who is Singaporean businessman David Yong from Netflix show Super Rich In Korea? The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/who-is-singaporean-businessman-david-yong-from-netflix-show-super-rich-in-korea

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