SINGAPORE — A woman who performed illegal botox and filler procedures was jailed for 10 weeks and fined $16,000 on Thursday (23 September).
Duong Bang Anh, a 32-year-old Vietnamese, had told customers that she was medically trained and had trained students in the same procedures.
Duong, who is a Singapore permanent resident, pleaded guilty to two charges of importing health products without a valid license, and two charges of practising without a certificate. Another eight counts of a similar nature were considered for sentencing.
When the Ministry of Health and Health Sciences Authority officers raided her K beauty salon’s premises on 3 July last year, they seized eight boxes of Neuronox Purified Botulinum Toxin Type A Complex and 20 boxes of Celosome Implant with Lidocaine (syringe) from the shelves and the refrigerator.
Duong admitted to ownership of the products and claimed she had bought them from Vietnam with the help of a friend who was based there. Her friend had helped arrange for the shipping of the products to Duong’s residence in Jurong in June last year.
The products were sent to HSA for analysis and the Neuronox Purified Botulinum Toxin Type A Complex was reported to be for treating foot deformity and serious forehead wrinkles. It was classified as an unregistered therapeutic product.
The Celosome Implant with Lidocaine (syringe) was classified as a medical device, which required product registration and a dealer’s license.
Two Singaporean women had procedures
Duong performed the procedures on two Singaporean women, aged 25 and 45, in 2018 and 2019.
In 2018, Duong rented a section of a salon known as Candy Craft Nail Salon in Jurong to operate her eyelash extension business. She was later the sole proprietor of K Beauty at another site in Jurong from late 2018 to September last year.
Since November 2018, Duong began performing botox and filler injection services at the nail salon, at K Beauty, and at her residence. While she issued receipts for manicure services, she would not do so for invasive procedures.
She advertised her services on Instagram and listed her contact details, such as email and mobile number, and her salon’s operating hours. She regularly posted before- and after-procedure photos of people.
Duong was not registered as a medical practitioner and did not have a practising certificate.
In May 2019, one of her customers came across K Beauty’s Instagram account and saw its services. She contacted Duong to make an appointment for fillers in her cheeks and chin for $800.
On the day of her appointment, the customer was asked to go into a partition and lie down. Duong then applied what appeared to be numbing cream on her face.
Duong then showed the customer a box containing the fillers and claimed that the products were from doctors and safe to use. She added that she had been trained by doctors and provided training herself to other customers who were interested in the services for a $3,000 fee.
Duong injected the fillers into the customer’s cheeks and chin within half an hour. She charged $800 for the procedure and did not issue a receipt.
Eventually, when the customer felt swelling on her cheek, she reported Duong to HSA.
Around 26 November 2018, another customer was introduced to Duong’s services through a friend. She contacted Duong to attain a V-shape face and dimples.
She met Duong at the nail salon on 28 November 2018, during which Duong claimed that she was medically trained in Vietnam and had a valid license to perform botox in Singapore.
In early 2019, the customer contacted Duong, claiming that she felt numbness and pain in her cheeks. Duong assured her that nothing was wrong and that the products were good and expensive.
The same customer returned to Duong in August 2019 for further botox injections on her lower face. She paid $200 and did not get a receipt.
Duong’s lawyer, David Ng, said that most of the products seized were for Duong’s own use as she frequently performed botox and filler services on herself.
Ng said that Duong only issued receipts upon request by customers.
Duong had never presented herself out to be a medical practitioner in Singapore and there was nothing to suggest that her client believed her to be anything more than a beautician, Ng added.
The defence sought six weeks’ jail and a $12,000 fine.
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