Hong Kong woman jailed for three months after being caught practising Chinese medicine illegally for second time – ASEAN/East Asia


A woman who failed to learn her lesson after being caught red-handed for practising Chinese medicine without a licence was jailed for three months on Wednesday after being arrested for a second time.

Fong Ming-wan, 46, was caught in a sting operation on February 8, just two months after she was slapped with a suspended two-month jail term in an earlier brush with the law.

On Wednesday, the Kowloon City Court found her guilty of practising without registration, contrary to the city’s Chinese Medicine Ordinance, for the February offence, and sentenced her to two months’ imprisonment.

Noting that Fong was not a first-time offender, deputy magistrate Leung Lai-yin ordered her to serve her suspended sentence, half of which would run consecutively with the present term. He sentenced her to a total of three months in jail.

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“You obviously did not cherish the opportunity [granted by the previous court],” Leung said, highlighting the short duration between the present offence and the last trial, when Fong was warned not to reoffend.

“It was exactly the same as last time,” he added.

The trial had begun after Fong denied the charge earlier this month. The court heard that she had applied Chinese medicinal ointment and liquid containing ginger while massaging a client in a “health preservation centre” in Hung Hom on February 8.

Unknown to Fong, the “client”, who had complained of soreness in the knee, was an undercover police officer. She was later arrested.

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Defence counsel James Cheng Chung-ching earlier argued that massages could come in many forms, not only in the practice of Chinese medicine.

Rejecting the suggestion, the magistrate ruled that the substance Fong used contained Chinese medicine and that the massage session involved theories relating to the Eastern medical discipline. Fong had also tried to examine the officer the way a Chinese medicinal would, Lai said.

In December last year, Fong was given a two-month suspended sentence for the same offence, involving a similar treatment. She had massaged a client’s elbow with a Chinese medicinal substance.

In mitigation, Cheng portrayed Fong as a hardworking person who had enrolled in various courses to improve her life. Her conviction was caused by her stupidity, he said.

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