TCM physician suspended for abetting illegal massage joint

A traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) physician has been suspended from practice for three years for abetting the operation of an illegal massage parlour in MacPherson called Gold Finger Wellness & Health Centre. Sein Mok Sin, 68, was suspended by the TCM Practitioners Board last month, it said in a statement on Monday.

In 2017, the police lodged a complaint with the board that Sein had been convicted of two counts of offences for abetting the operation of an illegal massage joint. He was fined $1,000 by the State Courts.

The board, a statutory board under the Health Ministry, set up an investigation committee to probe the complaint. Sein admitted that he had allowed his TCM registration certificate to be displayed at Gold Finger's premises to pass it off as a TCM clinic.

The board found that Sein's offences involved dishonesty and implied a defect in character. His actions also breached the Ethical Code for TCM physicians and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Act. While Sein was a first-time offender, he was unremorseful during the investigation, the board said. It decided to suspend his registration as a TCM practitioner for three years and issue him with a censure.

Sein is not the first TCM physician found guilty of working in cahoots with unlicensed massage joint operators. Acupuncturist Goh Seng Ngei, who used to practise at The World Medical Hall in Selegie Road, was convicted of running an unlicensed massage joint. He had also made false declarations that he was not convicted of any offences. The board cancelled his registration as an acupuncturist with effect from August last year.

The Straits Times had previously reported that some massage parlours - including those offering sexual services - were passing themselves off as TCM clinics. This disguise tactic came after spas and massage joints found it harder to get a licence to operate from the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department, industry players said.

In a statement, the board said: "The Board takes a serious view of any transgression of the Ethical Code by registered TCM practitioners. Any practitioners who associate themselves with unlicensed massage establishments and thereby bring disrepute to the TCM profession will face disciplinary action by the Board."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2019, with the headline 'TCM physician suspended for abetting illegal massage joint'. Print Edition | Subscribe