Hong Kong doctor arrested on suspicion of issuing over 6,000 fake vaccination exemption certificates

Doctor was charging £55 for vaccine exemption certificates, police officials say

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Tuesday 06 September 2022 11:30 BST

Related: First inhalable Covid vaccine unveiled in China’s Hainan Province

A 64-year-old doctor has been arrested in Hong Kong on the suspicion of selling thousands of fake Covid-19 vaccine exemption certificates amid a spike in virus infections.

Annie Choi Suk-mui was accused of issuing over 6,000 Covid “Vaccination Medical Exemption Certificates” to those unwilling to receive their jabs since August this year. The certificates were valid for 90 days.

The doctor was arrested on Monday following a police raid at her private clinic in Hong Kong’s Yuen Long town. Ms Choi’s personal computer and other electronic records were seized during the raid, Hong Kong-based newspaperThe Standard reported.

She was charging HK$500 (£55) for consultation from patients who sought exemption certificates, said Tai Yuk-lun, the chief inspector of Yuen Long’s police department.

Ms Choi was reportedly a “die-hard” supporter of pro-democracy group People Power.

Hong Kong citizens are required to receive either the BioNTech or Sinovac vaccines, according to health authorities.

People can be exempted from the jabs if doctors access them to be “medically unsuitable” for vaccination.

The alleged forgery was first reported by state-backed daily Wen Wei Po, which claimed over 200 people had been queuing in front of Ms Choi’s clinic on Saturday morning.

A woman was quoted as saying that she had been standing in queue since 3am but still failed to get a ticket on her second visit.

“I have had many experiences in my own clinic of declining to issue the exemption certificate,” said Gabriel Choi Kin, the former president of the Hong Kong Medical Association.

“A physician should be responsible to patients and abide by the code of professional conduct.”

Hong Kong leader John Lee on Tuesday warned medical practitioners against issuing false certificates, adding it would lead to 14 years in prison.

“The person who issued them has committed a severe crime, as have the people who used them,” Mr Lee said.

“We hope citizens could follow the disease prevention measures to help the authorities with striking a balance between the risk of the epidemic and economic activities more effectively.”

The city reported 9,373 new cases and nine deaths on Tuesday.

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