Doctor jailed over death at Hong Kong beauty clinic

The patient died a week after receiving a blood transfusion at a beauty clinic under Hong Kong's DR Group in 2012. PHOTO: ORIENTAL DAILY

HONG KONG (AFP) - The doctor at the helm of a Hong Kong beauty clinic that administered a deadly experimental cancer therapy was jailed for 12 years on Monday (Dec 18), reports said.

Patient Chan Yuen Lam, 46, died a week after she received a blood infusion at the clinic in 2012, an unprecedented medical blunder that has shed light on the city's largely unregulated beauty industry.

Chan had signed up for the unproven therapy using CIK cells, touted as an immunity boost by beauty chain DR Group and sold at HK$59,500 (S$10,268) per injection, local media reports said.

Bacterial levels in Chan's blood before she died were comparable to those of terminally ill Aids patients, according to a doctor who testified during the trial.

Beauty clinics in Hong Kong offer a wide range of treatments, many with little or no scientific backing, and often operate under little oversight.

Justice Judianna Barnes of the High Court called Stephen Chow, the founder of DR Group convicted of manslaughter, a "money-hungry" businessman before delivering the sentence on Monday, the reports said.

The sentence should reflect the "abhorrence felt by society", Barnes was cited as saying.

Laboratory technician Chan Kwun Chung, who prepared the blood product for the victim, was also sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Other victims who received the botched treatments in 2012 included a woman who had to undergo amputations as a result.

The jury last week failed to reach a majority verdict on a third defendant charged with manslaughter, a doctor who administered the treatment, who could face another trial as prosecutors are expected to seek a retrial in January.

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