John Hong Hou ZHANG (01660)
Date of Action: October 26, 2012
Description of action taken
The Inquiry Committee directed the issuance of a citation under s. 33(6)(d) of the Health Professions Act against the Registrant regarding allegations of professional misconduct by illegally operating his acupuncture clinic, or knowingly permitting his acupuncture clinic to be operated, as a massage parlour/bawdy house for the purposes of selling sexual services.
Following a discipline hearing, a panel of the Discipline Committee held that the Registrant had contravened s. 3(b) and 6(a)(1) of the Code of Ethics, s. 5.2 of the Standards of Practice and engaged in professional misconduct as defined by s. 26 of the Health Professions Act by:
- allowing his acupuncture clinic to be operated as a bawdy house/massage parlour where sexual services were offered for money;
- allowing his acupuncture clinic to be operated as a bawdy house/massage parlour contrary to the terms of the business licence granted by the City of Surrey; and
- exposing potential or actual patients to solicitation for sexual services.
Reasons for Decision
The Discipline Committee panel found that the evidence overwhelming established that the sale of sexual activities was taking place at the Registrant’s clinic. Based on the facts, the Panel concluded that the Registrant knew that sexual services were being offered and provided for sale at the clinic, or alternatively, was wilfully blind to those events. The Panel accepted the evidence of the city of Surrey bylaws officer that the business license granted by the City of Surrey was for the operation of an acupuncture clinic and not a massage parlour or bawdy house. The Panel concluded that the conduct was serious as it undermined public confidence in the practice of acupuncture and sullies the reputation of the profession and the professionals who practise it. Patients looking for treatment by way of acupuncture should not be subjected to efforts to sell sexual services. The Panel held that the obvious motivation was money and that those who try to make money by abusing their licence must know that they risk significant financial harm.
The Discipline Committee panel imposed the following penalties:
- three years suspension of registration ending on January 12, 2014
- the Registrant must refrain from treating patients or purporting to offer treatment at any location where the sale of sexual services is offered and must refrain from permitting his licence to be used in furtherance of any offer of sexual services;
- the Registrant must cooperate with the College on any audits of his practice or premises that the College may reasonably choose to require, such audits to be at the Registrant’s expense until January 15, 2015.
- costs to the College in the amount of $9,544.77 in tariff items and disbursements; and
- a fine to the College in the amount of $12,000 payable on or before January 12, 2016.