Sham plastic surgeons back in action in Vietnam

Thanh Nien News

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Doan Cong Hiep and Tran Quang Dung have provided dangerous plastic surgeries in Ho Chi Minh City and have damaged the bodies of many women

Two con men whose Ho Chi Minh City cosmetic surgery clinic was shut down last April for malpractice are back in business, a victim said.
According to a complaint sent to Thanh Nien newspaper, Doan Cong Hiep and Tran Quang Dung opened Vietnamese Skin JSC (ViskCorp) at 145 Nguyen Cuu Van Street, Binh Thanh District after being shut down last year.
Hiep and Dung escaped a raid last year, when city health inspectors entered their illegal plastic surgery clinic Dermatol Master, which described itself as the favored body and skincare destination of government leaders from Vietnam and countries throughout Southeast Asia.
The complaints author, a 34-year-old identified only as P.Q.N., claims she's spent months visiting doctors around town and up in Hanoi seeking to repair the damages caused by the two fraudsters.
Holes in her breasts have healed but they now appear distorted and covered in scars.
P.Q.N. sought their services after having a baby, knowing nothing of Hiep and Dung’s past.
The men said they would give her synthetic implants to firm up her breasts for VND50 million (US$2,372).
During the ensuing procedure, they punctured her breasts with a sharp steel cane that left her chest riddled with holes the size of a chopstick head.
“I was so scared and disgusted, but Hiep said he studied cosmetic surgery in the US and promised me that my breasts would blossom like an 18-year-old’s in three months.
“He said facilitating an immediate bloom would require some additional shots that cost VND10 million each. As I was already in it, I complied and paid the money.”
A week later, she gave them VND20 million for the shots and the two men disappeared, ceasing to answer their cell phones.
“My breasts look terrible. I’m very afraid that my husband and family know about this,” N. said.
She said many cosmetic surgeons have refused to treat her fearing her condition might worsen.  Finally, a female doctor in Hanoi agreed to help.
P.Q.N. said she has tracked down Hiep on several subsequent occasions and he promised to refund her money, only to disappear again.
Her latest call to Hiep was picked up by a stranger who threatened to send people to her house if she continued to look for him.
Consistent fraud
Ho Chi Minh City health inspectors said Tuesday that Hiep and Dung's posted HCMC Medical University diplomas don’t resemble the school’s official documents.
A recent check turned up no match in the school’s archives.
The city health department is working with the school to investigate further.
During an inspection at ViskCorp on April 11, Dung was not available and Hiep failed to produce a medical license for the company or his work permit.
Some of the men's victims told Thanh Nien that before Dermatol Master, the two had run a facility at a different location in the city starting 2007 but closed it after damaging numerous patients.
Their current company ViskCorp used to have an office on Vo Van Kiet Street in District 5. That business is described at landaviet.vn and viskcorp.blogspot.com.
Many victims said they did not complain to local authorities as they were embarrassed by the idea of others knowing about their cosmetic surgeries. 
They trusted their affairs more with the media.
One victim of Dermatol Master said she came to the men from HCMC's neighboring province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
The woman said she paid $4,400 for a treatment that left sores, rashes and blisters on her belly and three holes around her navel.
The so-called doctors injected her abdomen with what they called a diluted acid solution designed to help her lose 12 kilograms in six months while eliminating stretch marks.
Another HCMC resident said she paid $2000 for cream supposedly designed to treat melasma (a tan or dark skin discoloration); instead, it gave her tumors. 
She was only able to retrieve the money after her family confronted the men and made a fuss.
On Tuesday, municipal health inspectors visited My Ngoc Thuy Company at 63/63 Nguyen Bieu Street in District 5, where victims said Hiep and Dung had been producing and distributing cleansers, body scrubs, lotions, acne creams and skin lightening solutions.
Samples have been taken for testing and the Chief City Health Inspector Bui Minh Trang said that many appear to have dubious origins.
“Hiep and Dung had taken advantage of women’s demands for cosmetic treatments,” Trang said.
Do Thi Thu Hoa, a city local, said she bought the products from the two for resale.
Her customers reported good short term results before they developed conditions like acne, melasma, darkening or reddening skin, and prominent facial veins.
Hoa said she demanded that the products be tested and encouraged her customers to file complaints against Hiep and Dung, who promised to refund her money.
The two have evaded paying her the VND220 million (nearly US$105,000) since at least last October.
They also hired people to threaten her so she would stop following them, she said.
Chu Thi Huong, also of Ho Chi Minh City, said she was also cheated as an investor.
Huong said she has known the two since 2007 and helped them borrow VND1.55 billion to open Dermatol Master and ViskCorp, only to be shut out.
“After I found them many customers, they threw me out of the company and did not return my money.”

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