Healer faces 18 months for lapse
A former Chinese medical practitioner was given an 18-month suspended sentence yesterday for continuing to treat patients despite being delisted for unprofessional conduct.
Yip Chin-sang, who owned a clinic in Causeway Bay, had pleaded guilty in Eastern Court to two counts of practising Chinese medicine after his permanent delisting last year for failure to maintain patient records.
Acting Principal Magistrate David Dufton said unauthorised people could not perform work for which a licence was legally required, 'particularly doctors who treat patients whose lives are at risk'.
An immediate jail term would have been imposed, except for 'the very exceptional circumstances' that Yip's wife had died just a few days before the court proceedings, the magistrate said.
The magistrate noted that Yip had previously maintained his licence to practise for nearly a decade. The court had 'taken into account ... his fairly long period of time as a registered Chinese medical practitioner,' Dufton said.
Each of the two counts carries a four-month term of imprisonment which would be imposed concurrently should he commit any crimes in the next 18 months.
Court documents showed that the Chinese Medicine Council, the statutory body regulating local Chinese medical practitioners, revoked Yip's licence in October of last year due to a serious breach of professional conduct involving failures to maintain patient records.
Local media also reported Yip, who specialises in infertility, failed to realise that one of his patients had become pregnant. She later ended up having to terminate the pregnancy.
Yip, who has counted some celebrities among his patients, was said to have charged HK$1,000 for each consultation at his 'Chin Sang' clinic on Matheson Street.
He had reportedly claimed that he only 'prepared herbal drinks' after his delisting. The clinic was not open for business yesterday.
At one point during the proceedings, the magistrate questioned the prosecutor about Yip's claim - included in a background report - that he had not been informed of his disqualification from practising until his arrest.
He was told there had been an announcement of the deregistration in the government gazette and a registered letter had also been sent to Yip.