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Vietnamese woman caught working as unlicensed cosmetic surgeon in Taiwan

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NIA officials conduct a search at the Vietnamese woman's work studio. (NIA photo)

NIA officials conduct a search at the Vietnamese woman's work studio. (NIA photo)

A migrant worker from Vietnam was caught performing micro cosmetic surgery without a license on Sunday and later found to have run an illegal business since 2018, with earnings estimated at NT$3 million (US$104,836), the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said on Tuesday (Nov. 3).

In a statement, the NIA's special operation corps in Taoyuan said it received a tip-off in August that a 25-year-old Vietnamese woman surnamed Trinh (鄭), who worked at a factory in Hsinchu, also had an unlicensed workshop in Taoyuan where she performed cosmetic surgery.

During its investigation, the NIA found Trinh, who came to Taiwan to work in 2014, opened a workshop close to Taoyuan Railway Station in 2018, when she began her "side job" of performing micro cosmetic surgeries without a physicians license, the corps said.

The services she offered ranged from limp plumping, Botox, and hyaluronan injections, to mole removal and double eyelid surgery, the corps added.


Trinh even live-streamed some of the surgeries she performed on Facebook to attract clients, the corps said.


Thanks to a successful publicity strategy, as well as the relatively low cost of her services, some of Trinh's clients -- including both migrant workers and locals -- believed her to be a licensed practitioner.


Over the past two years she performed microsurgeries on an estimated 300-400 clients, earning about NT$3 million in profit, the corps said.


The NIA special operation corps raided the workshop on Sunday along with a Taoyuan prosecutor and officials from the Taoyuan Department of Public Health. Trinh was in the process of anesthetizing the face of a client, also a migrant worker from Vietnam.


During a search of the location, investigators seized surgery knives, medical needles, bottles of Botox and hyaluronan, and anesthetic drugs. In the garbage bin at the workshop they also found blood-stained cotton sheets, the corps said.


While being questioned, Trinh said she learned to conduct micro cosmetic surgeries while working at a beauty salon in Vietnam and was unaware that a physicians license is required to perform such services in Taiwan, according to the NIA.


She was transferred to the Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office for further investigation into violations of the Physicians Act, under which anyone who practices as a physician without a license can be sentenced up to five years in prison and fined up to NT$1.5 million.