Fatal treatment hits beauty boss

The founder of beauty center DR Group, Stephen Chow Heung-wing, was permanently stripped of his medical license by the Medical Council yesterday, more than a decade after a 46-year-old female customer died of a bacterial infection following an experimental treatment in 2012.

Chow, 66, was initially sentenced to 12 years in jail for manslaughter, but saw his penalty cut to 10 years following an appeal in 2017.

At a Medical Council hearing yesterday, the chairman of the council's inquiry panel, Joseph Lau Wan-yee, said the incident undermined public confidence in the profession.

"To ensure public safety, Chow cannot be allowed to practice. We have therefore decided to remove him from the medical register permanently," Lau said.

Cafe owner Chan Yuen-lam died of multiple organ failure caused by blood poisoning a week after receiving cytokine-induced killer cell therapy.

The therapy was prepared by Chan and administered by another doctor, Mak Wan-ling, at Chow's clinic.

The council's investigation found that CIK was a form of experimental cancer treatment, but Chow's clinic marketed it as a health product.

Citing the 2021 trial, Lau quoted the defense as saying that Chow believed Chan died only because staff at the medical center did not follow instructions, and that the treatment was safe.

But Lau said the treatment provided by Chow was experimental, unproven and expensive.

"Chan has been dead for over 10 years. I thought Chow would reflect on his own wrongdoing," Lau said. "But this just further shows Chow has not done any self-reflection."

Lau said he could no longer allow Chow to practice medicine, and decided to issue a global order to permanently bar Chow from the profession. The council was protecting the public from inappropriate practices.

Graham Harris, SC, representing Chow, said his client's main role since he started his business in the mid-1990s was that of a founder and businessman rather than a doctor, though he had been qualified for many years.