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November 11, 2009

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180 steered to illegal 'doctor'

SIX members of a ring of illegal medical agents have been arrested for allegedly defrauding some 500,000 yuan (US$73,206) from more than 180 victims by steering them to an unlicensed doctor, Hongkou District prosecutors said yesterday.

Prosecutors said these suspects did more harm than the usual scalpers who lure patients to high-cost private medical institutions, because they took their victims to an illegal clinic.

As a result, the gang led by Chen Xinjin, a local man in his 50s, will face a criminal charge of fraud, not fines, prosecutors said.

Chen started the scam in February after recruiting ring members to play different roles - medical expert, payment collector, guide and patient, prosecutors said.

The "patients" wandered about city-level hospitals, including Shanghai Maternity and Child Health Hospital, Renji Hospital and Shanghai No. 1 People's Hospital. They zeroed in on actual patients from outside the city.

"The fake patients always said they had got the same diseases as the victims and they were finally cured by the 'expert' after seeing a number of doctors," said Sun Qiliang, of Hongkou District Prosecutors' Office.

The fake patients eagerly gave the address of the so-called expert, or "spontaneously" showed the way.

In the unlicensed clinic, the fake doctor prescribed Chinese herbs usually valued at less than 10 yuan, but charged the victims thousands, prosecutors said.

A Sichuan Province woman surnamed Zhang is one of the victims.

Zhang came to the city in August for sterility. On her way to an outpatient department, two women in their 30s struck up a conversation with her.

The women said they also had suffered from sterility, but improved after seeing Professor Yu. One said she had got pregnant and wanted Yu to re-examine her, prosecutors said.

Zhang followed the two women to the illegal clinic. "Professor Yu" touched her pulse and quickly gave her a prescription that cost nearly 4,000 yuan, prosecutors said.

Zhang grew doubtful about the quick treatment and returned to the clinic, only to find it was empty. The invoice given by the clinic was also proved fake, prosecutors said.


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