Hong Kong beautician who claimed Chinese therapy could aid pregnancy arrested for unregistered practice

Woman held along with beauty centre’s manager after allegedly offering the treatment to an undercover officer

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 8:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 9:55am

A beautician was arrested on Monday on suspicion of practising Chinese medicine without registration after she was accused of offering therapy to help an undercover policewoman get pregnant.

The director of the Tsim Sha Tsui beauty centre, 41, was accused of aiding and abetting the beautician, 56. She was also arrested for the violation of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a HK$100,000 fine.

Police and health officers began investigating the beauty centre after the Department of Health received a complaint about a month ago.

Shortly before noon on Monday, an undercover policewoman in her 20s posed as a customer and went into the centre on Granville Road.

“Our undercover officer was told that moxibustion therapy could help her get pregnant easily,” acting chief inspector Chan Chi-keung said.

Shop owner and beautician held over allegedly phoney ultrasound machine

He said the beautician used a machine filled with moxa powder, a ground-up Chinese herb.

“The woman is not a qualified or registered Chinese medicine practitioner,” Chan said.

After securing evidence, police arrested the two women.

Officers also seized more than 2kg of suspected powdered moxa, also known as mugwort, on the premises and took it to a government laboratory for examination.

Traditional moxibustion therapy involves lit moxa sticks held over acupuncture points, according to the Chinese Herbalists Association.

The association’s president, Kwan Chi-yee, said he doubted moxibustion therapy alone could help a woman get pregnant. He said other treatments and other Chinese herbs would be needed.

By Monday evening the two women, both Hongkongers, were still being held at Tsim Sha Tsui police station for questioning. Neither had been charged.

A police source said the pair were likely to be released on bail as officers needed more time to investigate and wait for the result of the examination.