Costly treatment: Hong Kong cancer survivor forced into paying for pain-relief treatment at beauty centre, court hears

Eastern Court hears that woman – lying almost naked on bed – was persuaded to pay HK$16,000 to receive treatment; final cost rose to HK$60,000

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 August, 2016, 8:12pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 August, 2016, 10:59pm

A cancer survivor was allegedly pressured into paying HK$15,000 for a plan to relieve pain – which later turned out to cost HK$60,000 – when she was lying almost naked on a bed to receive lymphatic drainage treatment,a court heard on Monday.

Spa Beauty manager Ling Pik-yee and secretary Venice Tsang Chau-ting were accused of repeatedly trying to persuade Wong Yee-ling to purchase the pain-relieving treatment, Eastern Court heard.

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Despite agreeing to pay HK$15,000 initially as she could not stand the pressure, the 48-year-old secretary allegedly ended up being given a bill for HK$60,000, which she was told to sign before she would be allowed to leave.

“I was so scared,” Wong testified on Monday, fearing she was not able to afford it.

Ling and Tsang, both 30, pleaded not guilty to one joint count of engaging in an aggressive commercial practice contrary to the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.

The court heard that Wong, a customer of the beauty chain’s HK$6,000 lymphatic drainage treatment, was approached by the two as she was receiving the procedure at the Spa Beauty branch in Causeway Bay on May 19 last year. She was lying on a bed covered only with a towel when the two allegedly pressed her to accept the new treatment, the court heard.

“I kept saying no for quite a while,” Wong recalled, until she eventually agreed to pay HK$15,000. She said at one point she was told she would receive a rebate for the HK$6,000 lymphatic treatment.

But Ling later allegedly took her two credit cards, with one going over the limit, to charge her a total of HK$60,000.

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The woman said Ling left the room after bringing the bill, while Tsang refused to answer her questions, instead telling her that she would not be allowed to leave until she signed.

Defence counsel Lawrence Hui Cheuk-lun questioned why Wong did not mention that she was not allowed to leave when she complained to the centre’s customer service unit and the Consumer Council.

Instead, the claim only surfaced when she filed a statement with the Customs and Excise Department on September 24.

Wong also disagreed with Hui’s suggestion that she had signed multiple cheques to join the centre’s lucky draw.

The trial continues before magistrate June Cheung Tin-ngan.