A DOCTOR'S fear of triads resulted in him performing his duties behind a plastic screen as would a bank teller, the Medical Council heard yesterday. Dr Hwang Yuan-shang was struck off the medical register for 12 months after being found guilty on seven charges of issuing sick-leave certificates without examining patients. Dr Hwang did not dispute the charges but his defence counsel, Selvyn Yu, asked that the doctor's fear of triad persecution be taken into account in sentencing. 'As you know, the premises of a medical doctor are very difficult to protect and the triads had tried to extort money from him,' Mr Yu said. 'As a result, he resorted to going behind the dispensary to conduct his consultations instead of doing it in his clinic. 'He was afraid that anyone that was capable of going into the clinic was capable of doing harm to him or the clinic, which is why he conducted his business from behind the dispensary window. 'He did this for prescriptions - it may be difficult to do a full examination but it doesn't prevent him from doing some type of consultation.' The Medical Council was alerted to Dr Hwang's practice by the principal of Lui Kwok Pat Fong College, Brian Shek Cheung-ming, who noticed a large number of certificates from him. Mr Shek said that in November and December last year, about 50 of Dr Hwang's certificates had been presented at the college. 'We began an investigation because to find so many certificates coming from one doctor is abnormal,' he said. 'Usually students go to different doctors. 'When we interviewed the students, most of them admitted they had not really been ill and had just gone and bought their certificate. 'They said the doctor had not examined them and they had just got the certificate by paying $30.' Six of the seven charges related to the provision of certificates to students. Four had been issued on the same day. The seventh charge related to a false certificate written for a reporter working undercover for the Tin Tin Daily News. Dr Hwang's defence pointed to evidence that he had refused to issue a medical certificate to a man who attempted to claim one for a friend because the clinic did not have his friend's records. He also claimed that a doctor could not be blamed if patients lied about being ill.