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September 26, 2017

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HK investigates beauty parlor death

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong police said Thursday they were probing a beauty center in the city for manslaughter after a woman who received one of their treatments died and three others were hospitalized.

The 46-year-old woman died on Wednesday after suffering septic shock following a complicated blood transfusion treatment at the beauty chain, purportedly in a bid to boost her immune system, according to reports.

The treatment involved "concentration and processing of blood taken from the person, and subsequent infusion of the mixture back into the patient," a health department statement said, identifying the center as part of the DR chain.

Tests on the woman, who was hospitalized last week, found a rare antibiotic-resistant bacteria in her blood, the statement added. It was not immediately known if the bacteria was the direct cause of the woman's death.

Three other women who also underwent the transfusion at the same center as the fatality remained in hospital. The health department said over 40 people received the treatment at DR, which has 42 branches in Hong Kong.

Local reports said the women paid HK$50,000 (US$6,450) for the treatment.

Police described the case as "severe" and said they have launched a criminal probe, while health ministry officials said it would set up a special committee to review regulations at private healthcare facilities in city.

"We will investigate if there was gross negligence in this case, or if they have committed manslaughter," Hong Kong police chief Andy Tsang told reporters.

The police will investigate the company and medical personnel responsible for carrying out the treatment, Tsang said.

DR representatives were not available for comment when contacted by AFP. None of the beauty chain's branches have been closed since the probe began.

A statement on DR's website said the doctor who performed the treatment was not employed by the company, adding that the group "will help related government departments to seek the cause of this case."

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