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2 Indon helpers jailed 4 and 2 months each for illegal dentistry

13 July 2021

 By Vir B. Lumicao 

Photos posted online by a pseudo-dentist to advertise her brace installation service

Here’s a warning to foreign domestic helpers who perform illegal dental work in Hong Kong: You could be jailed.

The reminder comes after two Indonesian domestic workers were sentenced today, Jul 13, to four months and two months in prison, respectively, after being found guilty of breaching their condition of stay by practicing dentistry without a license.

The two, whose names were not disclosed in a statement issued by the Immigration Department, pleaded guilty to the charge before Shatin Magistrate Jason Wan.


They got off relatively lightly, however, as the Dentists Ordinance imposes a maximum fine of $100,000 and up to three years’ imprisonment on those found to have willfully or falsely pretended to be a dentist.

The two were among four Indonesians who were arrested between Apr 15 and 16 by Immigration officers who received information that they were using a room in a guest house on Sundays and holidays to clean teeth and install dental braces on fellow domestic workers.

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Today’s statement did not mention what happened to the two other workers who were arrested at the same time.

Immigration said it conducted a series of investigation before arresting the helpers, aged between 31 to 35, at their respective contractual addresses. Their employers were unaware of their illicit dental practice.

Relevant exhibits, including business cards and an account book, were seized from the guest house concerned, the Immigration said.


Since dental braces became a fad among young people a few years ago, a number of  Filipinos in Hong Kong have also begun offering brace installation services to their fellow domestic workers.

Others have become bolder recently, offering services such as dental filling and even extraction, as many FDWs stuck in Hong Kong due to the pandemic are unable to afford the expensive dental fees charged by local professionals.

The pseudo dentists operate in rented rooms in guesthouses in Jordan, Tsimshatsui, Mongkok and Shamshuipo in Kowloon, and some in Wanchai, according to workers whose friends have patronized their services.

However, dental brace installation is also known to have been carried out by some in such public places as the footbridge connecting Chater Garden to United Centre in Admiralty,

One informant said her friend suffered a serious gum infection last year after having a set of braces installed by an unregistered OFW dentist. When the patient threatened to report to authorities, the illegal dentist returned her $800 payment, her friend said.

Obviously, the return of the money paid should not have been enough to cover the damage that was done under ordinary circumstances.

Swollen gums could result from faulty brace installation

Immigration warns that people who practice dentistry without registration seriously threaten the health and lives of Hong Kong citizens and are very likely to increase the risk of spreading the epidemic.

In addition, doing non-domestic work violates the conditions of their stay in Hong Kong.

An Immigration spokesman said the department has been working hard in going after FDWs engaged in any form of unlawful employment. The operation has continued even during the pandemic.

"A helper should only perform domestic duties for the employer specified in the contract. The helper should not take up any other employment, including part-time domestic duties, with any other person. The employer should not require or allow the helper to carry out any work for any other person,” said the Immigration statement.

Anyone found guilty of doing illegal work face a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for up to two years. Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution.

The spokesman urges members of the public to report immigration-related crimes by calling the 24-hour Immigration Offences Hotline 2824 1551, sending fax via 2824 1166, sending email to

They may also visit the Immigration website and complete the Online Immigration Offences Report Form.


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