Maverick in long-running dispute with disciplinary body A maverick dentist who has tormented the Dental Council yesterday received a warning letter for having one too many signboards. Johnny Ma Kam-chuen was found guilty of professional misconduct for putting up two signboards near the entrance to Kam Ling Court Commercial Centre in Queen's Road West, where his clinic is situated. Dr Ma, a former president of the Hong Kong Dental Association, drew the ire of the profession with his 1995 book My Bigotry of the Dental Council, which was critical of the disciplinary panel. The 25-year veteran dentist said he considered the signboards as one because they were placed on the left and right-hand sides of the entrance, about a metre apart. Dr Ma, who was unrepresented because he claimed he had 'no money', said the signs had been put up since 1986. In delivering the verdict, Dental Council chairman Jeffrey Tsang Yick-sang said: 'The two signboards were completely separated by a distance of 1.3 metres with no connection. No reasonable person could see that there is one single signboard.' He said Dr Ma became aware he had breached the code when the council secretary sent a letter in July last year requesting he remove one of the signboards. 'But he refused to co-operate and purposely violated the law because his view was the secretary did not have the power [to order it],' Dr Tsang said. 'The defendant's conduct will be reasonably regarded as disreputable and dishonourable. We find him guilty as charged.' He said the professional code was 'designed to ensure a level playing field among dentists and that the public was not attracted by excessive promotions'. The council heard that two anonymous letters were sent last year to the Dental Council complaining about Dr Ma's signs. One allegedly represented about 800 University of Hong Kong dental graduates, while another signed it as 'All registered dentists in Hong Kong, mostly HKU graduates'. The letters were ruled inadmissible. A police constable was sent to the Queen's Road West premises on June 17 last year and took nine pictures of the signboards. It was on this basis that the council charged him with violating the rule. After the hearing, Dr Ma said he would remove one signboard as ordered, adding that he had achieved his purpose by going through the disciplinary hearing. 'My purpose was to point out some unreasonableness of the existing system, which protects dentists' self-interests. Don't waste [council] resources on these signboards. There are many serious misconduct [cases] for the council to deal with,' he said.