The beauty industry yesterday hit back at recent criticism over the use of a toxic bust-boosting gel, saying local beauty parlours had no access to the substance and so could not perform the surgery. 'No proper beauticians can perform surgery or PAAG [hydrophilic polyacrylamide] treatment,' the chairman of the Federation of Beauty Industry, Nelson Ip Sai-hung, said. 'Beauty centres cannot buy this product... we don't have the ability to do the treatment.' But his remarks were contradicted by a Department of Health statement last night, which said the department had received 154 enquiries about PAAG injections since last week, 72 of which said they had received the injection in Hong Kong or overseas. Of the 72 cases, 30 said they had experienced complications afterwards. The federation - together with the Hong Kong Association of Professional Aestheticians International, The Cosmetic and Perfumery Association of Hong Kong and International CICA Association of Esthetics - yesterday criticised the Consumer Council's report, which claimed an unspecified number of women had received PAAG treatment in Hong Kong. But Jacky Choi Ho-sang, the federation's honorary life president, would not rule out that some 'medical experts' who had access to PAAG might have linked up with beauty parlours. He also expressed concern that more such 'experts' - who may or may not have proper medical qualifications - had opened beauty centres in recent years. 'We're worried that some such organisations package themselves as beauty parlours to attract customers. We don't even know whether their doctors are registered,' Mr Choi said. He said the government should have clearer guidelines on the qualifications required for doctors to perform injections of bust-boosting gel and other potentially dangerous procedures. The president of the Hong Kong Association of Professional Aestheticians International Elsa Pun Pui- fun said she knew of cases where people claimed to be medical experts from the mainland and worked with local beauty parlours. She knew of a mainlander who identified himself as a doctor and approached a local beauty salon for referrals. The council report, released last Thursday, was based on research carried out by the Hong Kong Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (HKSPRAS). The beauty federation claimed HKSPRAS did not actually ask interviewees about where they had PAAG treatment. The Consumer Council's deputy chief Connie Lau Yin-hing confirmed that the report was based on HKSPRAS' findings, but said the purpose of the report was to warn the public about the treatment. The council also said it had received two enquiries about PAAG injection since Thursday.