11 held in cancer fraud probe

ELEVEN women, including two owners of a beauty centre and a health consultancy in Causeway Bay (銅鑼灣), were arrested on 4 May for allegedly defrauding seven people of HK$5m by offering treatments for serious medical problems.

The women, aged between 30 and 68, were arrested for conspiracy to defraud, illegal practice of medicine and possession of part 1 poisons.

Two deaths are being investigated as the case unfolds.

The 11 were taken to Wan Chai (灣仔) police station as officers searched their homes.

Among those arrested was Painting International Ltd (娉婷國際) owner Chiu Suk-yee (趙淑儀), an unnamed owner of a linked consultancy company and staff members.

The businesses allegedly claimed to be able to treat cancer, skin diseases and emotional problems.

One man and six women who allegedly paid from HK$200,000 to HK$1.2m for treatments were allegedly required to sign agreements promising not to receive other treatments including traditional Chinese medicine, western-based medicines or chemotherapy.

They appear to be the sources of seven reports to authorities from August 2013 to last December.

In some cases people’s conditions had deteriorated recently, including two who died.The patients were treated with so-called “natural treatments” including radiation, inhaling oxygen and wearing magnets while also receiving counselling.

Some appliances and documents, a computer, “medical magnets” and anaesthetic drugs were seized as the arrests were carried out. The patients were supposedly told to wear magnets for 24 hours to cure sickness.

Police took action after a report by Standard sister publication East Week (東周刊).

(This article is published on The Student Standard on 9 May 2016)

Report of the Working Group on Differentiation between Medical  Procedures and Beauty Services

Regulation of the beauty industry