Malaysian woman jailed over illegal cosmetic services in S'pore

·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
Malaysia Tan Shu Min advertised and performed illegal cosmetic procedures targeting customers in Singapore. (SCREENSHOT: Carousell)
Malaysia Tan Shu Min advertised and performed illegal cosmetic procedures targeting customers in Singapore. (SCREENSHOT: Carousell)

SINGAPORE — A Malaysian woman who entered Singapore to carry out illegal cosmetic procedures in 2019 was on Friday (28 May) jailed for 10 weeks and fined $5,500.

At the time, Tan Shu Min, 26, was not registered with the Singapore Medical Council and not licensed to perform aesthetic treatment such as botox and nose thread lift.

She pleaded guilty earlier this month to performing a nose thread lift on a woman at a Singapore hotel on 27 January 2019, without a relevant practising licence.

Apart from breaching the Medical Registration Act, Tan also pleaded guilty to one count of importing three syringes of lidocaine – a local anaesthetic listed under the Poisons Act – on 25 May 2019. She also admitted to three counts under the Health Products Act for bringing into Singapore medical devices and products without an importer's license on the same day.

Another 10 similar charges were considered in sentencing.

About the case

Tan advertised her services on Carousell and Instagram, using before and after photos of people who underwent cosmetic procedures which she found online.

The court heard that the beauty consultant felt that Singapore was a better market for botox and filler treatments, and that she could double her earnings here. 

Tan began providing her services, including facial treatments, here in 2019. She bought medical equipment and material such as syringes and needles from websites, Malaysian doctors and a beauty shop in Jurong East.

In January 2019, a 28-year-old woman saw Tan's Instagram account promoting botox, nose thread lift and filler services. She texted Tan about a nose thread lift and they agreed to meet at Genting Hotel Jurong later that month.

Tan entered Singapore on 24 January and met the customer at the hotel three days later. 

The customer lay down on the bed and Tan sanitised her nose bridge before commencing the treatment with gloves. 

Tan injected lidocaine into the woman's nose and created a small puncture at the tip of the nose using a needle, before inserting at least five threads with a syringe.

The process lasted about half an hour, with the woman noticing mild swelling on her nose thereafter. Tan gave the woman two types of medication, which she claimed to be antibiotics to reduce the swelling. 

Tan later told the woman that she could consider adding more threads for a more defined look. She charged between $400 and $600 for the thread lift.

The next day, the woman emailed the health ministry to report the illegal aesthetic procedures.

Tan left Singapore on 29 January 2019.

Tan also rented a room in Admiralty to provide beauty treatment services to customers. Two customers arrived for treatment on 27 May 2019, and Tan administered an injection of hyaluronic acid gel on one of their faces.

At about 1pm, the authorities conducted a joint inspection at the room after receiving a tip off. 

MOH prosecutor Andre Tan had sought six months' jail, while a HSA prosecutor asked for a fine. The MOH prosecutor noted that Tan had a "profit motive" in targeting Singapore as she would have earned more than the same services she provided in Malaysia.

In mitigation, Tan's lawyer Bryan Lim said she was only 24 at the time. While Tan was a foreigner, she had been commuting between Johor Bahru and Singapore, and had a number of friends here whom she would visit, he added.

For illegally doing an act as a as a medical practitioner, Tan could have been jailed for up to a year and also fined up to $100,000. The maximum punishment for importing health products unlawfully is a two-year jail term and a $50,000 fine. For importing a poison without a licence, Tan could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $10,000.

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