Police question head of DR Beauty Centre chain
The head of a chain of beauty clinics at the centre of a police investigation into high-risk blood transfusions – which left one woman dead and three others in hospital – was questioned by detectives on Saturday.
DR Beauty centre chain founder, Dr Stephen Chow Heung-wing, was seen entering police headquarters in Admiralty early on Saturday accompanied by two unidentified men. He left the station after more than an hour. Police refused to elaborate, but confirmed no criminal charges were laid.
Four women suffered septic shock after receiving blood transfusion “health therapy” at DR centres in Causeway Bay and Mong Kok.
A 46-year-old women, “treated” at the Causeway Bay clinic, died on Tuesday, while another three remain in hospital. One is in a critical condition, while the other two are “serious” and “stable”. All four contracted a rare deadly superbug.
Undersecretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu said police were collecting evidence from witnesses in the beauty treatment industry.
“Some professional medical procedures were involved in this case. So, different evidence needs to be collected from experts,” Lee said.
Department of Health director Constance Chan Hon-yee said the government would draw up guidelines in a few months to tackle unscrupulous practices in the industry.
“There is no current law to pinpoint the problem. But we will clearly differentiate what is classified as medical treatment, making it illegal for beauty practitioners to perform this type of high-risk therapy if they do not hold a medical licence,” said Chan.
Chan is currently chairing a taskforce to review the operation of beauty salons. She said the most pressing issue was to ensure the high-risk treatment was only performed by qualified doctors.
But the Medical Association has questioned this, noting that it was often doctors who performed the controversial therapy. It also doubts whether new guidelines will be legally enforceable.
“A guideline is only to explain clearly what the medical treatment is. Without a law to ban such behaviour, it will be useless”, association head Tse Hung-hing said.
Health minister Dr Ko Wing-man said he would not rule out the possibility that regulations would change after a review of private healthcare institutions.
Stephen Chow was a private family doctor before he founded his beauty centre chain in 1995. The chain now has 40 branches in Hong Kong and claims to have 300,000 members or clients. In the 1990s, Chow and his wife also created their own brand of beauty products.