Friday, August 17, 2007

Malaysia ends fake dentist's 29-year career

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian police have arrested a man who practised as a dentist for 29 years although he had no medical training and treated patients at his home in a cast-off examining chair.

The impostor's closest brush with the dental profession was during the years 1962 to 1978, when he assisted an army dentist by carrying his bag on visits to plantation workers' homes, the New Straits Times reported on Wednesday.

"I watched the doctor diagnose and treat problems with teeth," the paper quoted the unidentified man as saying when officials raided his home this week.

"I also saw how he would extract teeth and make models and measurements for dentures."

The 63-year-old man, who convinced his neighbours he was a retired army dentist after being told he was too old to work as a dentist's assistant, charged 20 ringgit (about R40) for extractions and 130 ringgit for dentures, the paper said.

Health officials seized antibiotics, painkillers, syringes and bottles of Chinese medicine during the raid, but they needed more than six men to carry off his 1940s-era examining chair, tossed away by the Malaysian army in 1978. The paper said the raid occurred after a tip-off.

The man has been arrested for illegally practising dentistry and will face charges under Malaysia's private healthcare facilities and services act. He could face a fine of up to 30 000 ringgit or a six-year jail term, or both.

He did provide one unique service, however. "I also make house visits." he told the paper.

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