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Court orders home-based Richmond acupuncture clinic shut down

Seized records show Jhan Jhan Lee and Wai Cheong Chik had been operating out of Colville Road since 2004
Acupuncture home
Police raid the site of a home-based acupuncture clinic this spring. File photo

A Richmond couple has been ordered to stop running an underground acupuncture clinic from their home that was serving clients as far back as 2004, according to seized records.

According to the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC (CTCMA), Vancouver Coastal Health Authority contacted the CTCMA in February to report an anonymous complaint that acupuncture was being practiced illegally at a private residence on Colville Road registered to tenants Jhan Jhan Lee and Wai Cheong Chik.

Surveillance operations were conducted by private investigators hired by the CTCMA that revealed during a three-day span business being was being conducted on a large scale, including a report of more than 140 vehicles arriving and leaving the home.

A search and seize order was issued and carried out in March assisted by the RCMP.

The resulting investigation uncovered thousands of acupuncture needles and hypodermic syringes, prescription-only pharmaceuticals, and clinical records involving thousands of patients from 2004 to March 2016.

On June 30 in B.C. Supreme Court permanent injunctions against the couple were issued. In addition, the court awarded CTCMA costs of more than $36,000.

“These two individuals are examples of the imposters that prey on the public, providing cheap unregulated health care to vulnerable unwell people. The solution is very simple: every regulatory college has a website with a list of its registrants – make sure that the health practitioner you are going to is listed,” stated Dr. Mary Watterson, registrar of the CTCMA on its website.