Anger as clinic shuts its doors

A SPECIALIST clinic has closed its doors, leaving debts and disgruntled patients.

The TABE Treatment Clinic, which opened in Central last August, closed last month and its owners have been accused of fleeing Hongkong without settling debts or completing treatments paid for in advance.

An advertising agency is owed almost $150,000 and a contractor $45,000 for renovation work.

The clinic was opened by Australian Mr Peter Anderson, who said he was the chairman of the TABE clinics.

He rented 1,400 square feet in Golden Centre, a new office building in Des Voeux Road, and hired two doctors offering to treat arthritis, spondylitis (inflammation of the vertebrae), backache, ligament injuries and bone conditions with poultices made upof traditional Ayurvedic herbs from India.

Mr Anderson and Dr Rajiv Anand, who had been brought from India to run the clinic, are now in Madras.

But one of Mr Anderson's associates cited ''problems'' with the Department of Health as the reason for quitting Hongkong.

Mr William Wilson, saying he was an associate of Mr Anderson's, said from Madras: ''We advertise all over the world and suddenly the health department said regulations prevented us from advertising our treatments. We decided there was no point staying.'' A spokesman for the Department of Health said TABE advertisements contravened the Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance, and a letter was sent to the clinic warning it not to make claims of curing arthritis.

Contractor Mr Peter Wong Tsang-kwan, of the Mr Fix-It Work Shop, in Tsim Sha Tsui, said the clinic owed him $44,830 of a $179,830 contract.

He has lodged a complaint with the Commission of India in Hongkong, which said it was ''looking into the matter''.

''I feel cheated,'' Mr Wong said. ''I have contacted solicitors in India to fight with him to get my money back.'' The director of the advertising agency owed $140,000 said: ''We were told they were a big-spending client, good for their money.'' One client said he had paid $3,900 for a series of treatments and only had one session. When he returned a second time, the clinic was closed.