British Columbia·CBC Investigates

Patients of suspected fake Delta, B.C., plastic surgeon warned to get tested for HIV, hepatitis

All patients of a suspected illegal cosmetic surgery clinic in Delta are being urged to get tested for HIV and hepatitis by the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Zhuo Li being investigated by College of Physicians and Surgeons

Zhuo Li is the owner of Sabrina Permanent Make-up Studio Inc. registered to Delta, B.C., home where raid took place. (Facebook)

All patients of a suspected illegal cosmetic surgery clinic in Delta are being urged to get tested for HIV and hepatitis by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.

Zhuo Li is under investigation for performing cosmetic surgery and injection procedures without a licence to practise medicine or medical training, says the college.

"Based on the findings, the college believes it is highly probable that Ms. Li was performing cosmetic surgery such as facial injections, eyelid lifts and facial implants, which are restricted activities that only qualified medical professionals are authorized to perform," said Dr. Heidi Oetter, registrar and CEO.

"This is horrific," she said. 

Li, who also goes by the first name Subrina, is the sole director of a company registered at the home, called Sabrina Permanent Make-up Studio Inc. 

The college began its investigation after receiving complaints in mid-November from both the public and physicians about a nose implant and eyelid lift surgery done at the house.

It was raided on Dec 20, after a B.C. Supreme Court judge authorized the search of the home Li shares with her husband and children in a quiet residential neighbourhood in North Delta.

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The B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons and Delta Police raided a basement business in this house on Dec. 20. (Denis Dossman/CBC)

The judge issued a search and seizure order under Section 29 of the Health Profession Act, after the college alleged Li was performing cosmetic surgery in a "makeshift operating room" in her basement, said Susan Prins, the college's director of communications and public affairs. 

Concerns over sterilization

Items found in the raid included:

  • Injectable medication including Bocouture (botulinum toxin type A).
  • Lidocaine hydrochloride (local anesthetic).
  • Prescription ofloxacin eye drops.
  • Syringes, needles.
  • Suture forceps.
  • Surgical clamps, scissors, scalpel blades.

There was no evidence the surgical instruments were properly sterilized by an autoclave, which is a high-pressure steam chamber used in hospitals and medical clinics to sterilize equipment, the College of Physicians and Surgeons said.

The college also says receipts were found for transactions from $300 to $5,000. 

"I suspect price was probably a reason to do that, but in many ways you get what you pay for. You are putting your life ... at risk by not seeking the advice of a skilled professional," Oetter told CBC News.

Fraser Health, the local health authority, reviewed the evidence and determined the college should take the unusual step of warning the public.

Patients are advised to see their family physicians immediately to be tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C. 

Investigator Mike Lantz of Paladin Security (left) lead investigation, including the seizure of 14 boxes of evidence during a raid on the home business. (Denis Dossman/CBC)

During the raid last month two Delta police vehicles blocked the driveway of the home as eight investigators entered and searched the two-storey home.

CBC News arrived shortly after the raid began, after receiving a tip from the public that police were at the residence.

Investigators were seen removing more than a dozen bankers' boxes of material and a Mac computer from the home. 

Investigators appeared to focus on the basement of the home, where Li's  business registration could be seen through the window, framed on the wall. It appeared along with certificates that appear to suggest Li has medical credentials.

However, she is not a registrant of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and is not a licensed physician listed on any publicly available database worldwide.

She is believed to be a tattoo artist with training in esthetics and makeup application.

'Combat Aging' says poster on wall

A poster written only in Chinese characters on the wall of the basement clinic wall suggests more than tattooed permanent makeup were being offered. 

'Combat Aging' says a large poster in the basement of the home raided by B.C. the College of Physicians and Surgeons. (Denis Dossman/CBC)

The large poster shows before and after photos of women's faces and says "Combat aging, revert to a younger age."

Property records show that the owner of the house is Thomas Jeffrey Quinn, Li's husband.

According to Quinn's Facebook posts, he returned to Delta in 2015, with his family after teaching ESL in China for eight years.

No comment from alleged fake doctor

City records show Quinn obtained a permit for a $20,000 basement renovation in 2015, and neighbours say the pavement and stairs leading to the basement entrance are new. 

Zhuo Li, seen here with her spouse Tom Quinn, share the home that was raided in December. (Facebook)

Li and Quinn have not responded to two written requests for an interview from CBC News. 

"We're OK," was all Quinn said, when CBC knocked on the door requesting to speak to Li.

Suspected basement surgery clinic raided

6 years ago
Duration 0:41
A judge issued a search and seizure order under Section 29 of the Health Profession Act, after the college alleged Zhuo Li was performing cosmetic surgery in her basement.

Court file remains sealed

The civil court file is sealed in B.C. Supreme Court and the college is still examining the items seized.

A court order temporarily restrains Li from providing any service that must be performed by a physician, including Botox injections and surgery. The college is seeking a permanent injunction. 

The investigation is being conducted by the college, which has sole jurisdiction to police doctors and anyone who performs the work of a physician without a medical licence,

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