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Regulator seeks jail time for Richmond acupuncturist, alleges illegal practice

An injunction was issued against Wai Cheong Chik for operating an acupuncture clinic out of his Colville Road home.
A Richmond resident is being accused of running a home-based acupuncture clinic on Colville Road despite a court injunction barring him from doing so.

The regulator for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practices in B.C. is seeking jail time for a Richmond acupuncturist for allegedly running an unauthorized practice.

Wai Cheong Chik has allegedly "intentionally continued to provide TCM/acupuncture services for remuneration" despite a 2016 court injunction barring him from doing so, according to a civil contempt proceeding commenced at the B.C. Supreme Court on May 15.

The proceedings were commenced by the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia, which was established to regulate TCM practices.

This marks the second time the college has sought a contempt ruling against Chik, following the failure of its first attempt in 2019 due to a lack of sufficient evidence.

In 2016, the B.C. Supreme Court issued a permanent injunction against Chik and his wife Jhan Jhan Lee after the college's investigation revealed Chik was practicing acupuncture illegally at his private residence on Colville Road.

Under the Health Professions Act, only registrants of the college are allowed to practice TCM and acupuncture.

Although Chik had applied to register as a TCM practitioner with the college in 2000, his registration was denied.

According to the petition filed by the college on May 15, Chik was barred from re-applying until 2003 because he submitted an "untruthful graduation certificate and transcript under sworn testimony."

Chik did not reapply for registration, said the college in its petition, adding there are no records Chik was registered with any other regulatory bodies in B.C.

During the 2016 proceedings, Chik was found to have operated the home-based clinic as far back as 2004. As such, a B.C. Supreme Court justice issued a permanent injunction barring Chik from providing any TCM and acupuncture services until he becomes registered with the college.

Neighbour, customers complained of illegal clinic: TCM regulator

According to the petition, the college received a voicemail from someone identifying as Chik's neighbour on Colville Road, claiming he observed as many as 15 cars arrive at Chik's house and provided details about the vehicles.

The college then engaged Paladin Risk Solutions Inc., which had investigated previous complaints against Chik for the college, to conduct surveillance on Chik throughout August 2023.

The college cited affidavits from Paladin investigators, who allegedly observed Chik arriving at Lansdowne Centre in early morning hours and throw plastic bags in a garbage bin on several occasions. According to the investigators, they retrieved the bags and found contents such as acupuncture needles, as well as injection instructions and empty boxes of dexamethasone sodium phosphate.

The petition also refers to a complaint in March 2024 from someone claiming she received acupuncture treatment from Chik at his residence.

According to the complainant, she attended Chik's residence four times for treatment and paid him $30 in cash per session. She described feeling six needles inserted into her back during each session, and two needles "felt like something had been injected," wrote the petition.

During her last visit, the complainant allegedly recorded the treatment sessions "because of her concerns about what was being inserted in her back" and saw Chik "pierced (the complainant's) skin twice and injected her with an unknown substance" when reviewing the recording.

A copy of the video and two screenshots were subsequently submitted to the college as part of her complaint, reads the complaint.

"There can be no doubt that the respondent was aware of and understood the 2016 Injunction Order and intentionally did not comply with its terms," wrote the college, adding it would place the public "at risk of harm" if Chik were allowed to continue his practice.

Pointing out the "amount of material discarded" by Chik, the college claims "it is consistent only with a large-scale ongoing practice."

"There is no evidence or reasonable suggestion that the respondent has any other use for the materials other than practicing TCM/acupuncture," reads the petition.

The college added Chik's behaviour is "inconsistent with ordinary human experience," arguing the timing and locations of his garbage disposal were signs he "expects he is under surveillance and does not want his garbage seized as occurred in 2019."

"Such furtive behaviour is suggestive of an individual who is aware that their conduct is unlawful," wrote the college.

The college is seeking a contempt ruling against Chik and for him to either be committed for 45 days or be imposed a "substantial fine."

Chik is "subject to no regulatory oversight at all" and the impugned conduct is "not an isolated incident," argued the college, concluding that committal is the just and fit sentence.

The college is also seeking special costs.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

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