‘Left looking like a burned pig’: customer awarded HK$290,000 when beauty treatment went wrong

District Court heard that woman felt hopeless and attempted suicide as the dark scars forced her to give up plans for a wedding banquet

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 March, 2017, 9:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 March, 2017, 11:25pm

A beauty parlour operator was ordered on Friday to pay a former customer HK$290,000 for leaving her with wounds that resembled a thick layer of burned pig skin on her face following treatment to remove freckles.

The District Court heard that estate agent Sit Mui, then 45, felt hopeless and attempted suicide as the dark scars forced her to give up plans for a wedding banquet and to opt instead for a simple registry ceremony.

“Her regret,” she told judge Andrew Li Shu-yuk, “was that she could not take pictures to remember the most important moment of her life.”

Her troubles began on May 28, 2014 when she walked into Anita Lui Tung-mui’s parlour on a friend’s recommendation for treatment that included the removal of freckles.

More legislation needed to regulate Hong Kong’s medical beauty service industry, says watchdog

Lui put some medicine on Sit’s right cheek. She immediately experienced a burning pain. But she was told it was a normal reaction and continued with the treatment as she trusted Lui’s professional opinion.

She returned the next day after finding her cheek had swollen and her freckles became darker.

But as Lui explained again that it was normal, she proceeded with treatment on her left cheek.

Days later, Sit said she suffered such swelling that she could not open her eyes and later found scabs had formed over her wounds like “a thick layer of burned pig skin”.

Lui, however, assured her again and twice advised her not to see a doctor.

Caught with pants down: Hong Kong beauty salon accused of strong-arming naked customer into HK$8,000 payment

When Sit finally saw a doctor on June 25, she was diagnosed with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in two areas.

Sit said the trauma left her unable to sleep properly and anxious and worried.

But the judge expressed reservations about her claims of mental distress as he noted they were not backed by any medical evidence or proof that her wedding banquet had been cancelled.

It was noted in court that her face had largely returned to its original state, except that parts of her cheeks appeared darker than before her treatment.

Hong Kong families of beauty salon blunder victims complain government is failing to crack down on sector

He ordered Lui to refund the cost of treatment and compensate Sit for the pain she suffered and future medical expenses. She was also ordered to pay special damages covering past medical fees, cosmetics and supplements such as bird’s nest and fish maw.

The total came to HK$289,652 plus interest and the cost of the legal action.