Two South Koreans and Hong Kong woman cleared by court over liposuction consultation in five-star hotel

(SCMP) - Two South Koreans and a Hong Kong woman who recommended liposuction to an undercover police officer during a consultation at a five-star hotel two years ago walked free from court on Monday.

South Korean company manager Ryu Seung-yeon, 28; doctor Seo Jae-won, 37; and Cheung Lok-yan, 33, director of the Hong Kong intermediary “365MC”; were found not guilty of one joint count of practising medicine without a registration.

The two South Koreans were subsequently cleared of breaching their conditions of stay, while Cheung was also found not guilty of aiding and abetting them.

The Eastern Court case hinged on whether a consultation on improving body figure and weight loss amounted to practising Western medicine under Hong Kong law.

Senior public prosecutor Jasmine Ching Wai-ming had summoned two doctors to support her case that the trio practised medicine on policewoman Yam Ka-bo during a sting operation at the Conrad Hong Kong hotel on November 20, 2016.

Undercover Hong Kong cop told to get liposuction in South Korea

But Magistrate Li Chi-ho sided with the defence in finding the two doctors summoned were unqualified to draw such a conclusion from their expertise.

Even if the doctors had been qualified, Li concluded that the charge did not stand as prosecutors had failed to prove the alleged guilty act.

Yam had testified that Seo pressed and pinched various body parts, before suggesting that she could undergo surgery in South Korea to remove fat from her arms, thighs and belly.

Under the Medical Registration Ordinance, any person who “practises medicine or surgery, or does any medical diagnosis, prescribes any medical treatment or performs any medical treatment” without being registered is guilty of an offence punishable by seven years’ imprisonment.

Li said “practise” was defined in the ordinance as “the diagnosis of any form of disease”, and the present case did not fall under the category.

“Hence the prosecution had failed to prove that any of you had practised medicine,” Li concluded.

Cheung burst into tears upon hearing the acquittals.

Two other South Korean women – Kim Sun-kyoung, 51, who claimed to be a company director, and Park Haemi, an employee – were previously cleared after prosecutors decided to drop conspiracy charges against them.

A government spokesman said: “The Department of Health will work with the Department of Justice to study the judgment and to consider follow-up actions.”

Between 2015 and 2017, the Department of Health referred 67 cases of suspected illegal practice of medicine to the police.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Trio cleared over hotel liposuction consultation.


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