A Vietnamese national in Taiwan has been fined more than $11,000 for running an illegal cosmetology studio that offered services such as breast enhancement, rhinoplasty and double eyelid surgery, according to reports.
The 37-year-old woman, identified only by her surname Wu, performed the aforementioned operations and more in an apartment in the city of Taoyuan while only being self-taught in hairdressing and cosmetology, Taiwan News reported, citing the country’s National Immigration Agency (NIA).
Authorities started an investigation into the illegal business after customers who were dissatisfied with the results they got were refused compensation and reported Wu.
The NIA’s New Taipei City Specialized Operation Brigade was able to confirm that Wu was violating the law after months of collecting evidence.
She was arrested and transferred to the Taoyuan District Prosecutor’s Office to be investigated for violations of Taiwan’s Pharmaceutical Affairs Act and Physician’s Act.
Upon being questioned by police, Wu confessed to operating her studio illegally.
She also admitted to not publicly releasing the fees of her service and giving customers a higher price that they could then haggle for a lower fee.
“A large number” of stolen goods as well as medical and cosmetic devices were seized at Wu’s studio, according to the report. These included hyaluronic acid, Botox, anesthetics, artificial prostheses, sutures, needles, scalpels and laser hair removal devices.
Her sentence was commuted in September to a fine of NT$360,000 ($11,825) and an order to undergo legal education.
Wu, who came to Taiwan after marrying a Taiwanese citizen in 2005, allegedly studied eyebrow tattooing and cosmetology while working as a dishwasher.
She previously set up a private cosmetic surgery studio in Vietnam in 2017 before moving it to Taiwan in October 2021.
The Taiwan business had about 10 customers per month, most of whom were from Vietnam, and it generated approximately NT$500,000 ($16,700) per month.
Wu had made more than NT$3 million ($94,035) by the time her studio was shut down.
The New Taipei City Specialized Operation Brigade has warned new immigrants to exercise caution when seeking cosmetic surgery.
People should only visit clinics that are licensed by Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare, the force said.