VANCOUVER - A British Columbia man accused of setting up an illegal dental surgery in the bedroom of a suburban house near Vancouver, where he used unapproved equipment to perform procedures in unsanitary conditions, was sentenced Tuesday for defying a court order to stop.
But Tung Sheng (David) Wu — a man the province's College of Dental Surgeons has condemned as a scoundrel who took advantage of vulnerable and naive patients — remains on the run, leaving officials with few clues about where he might be hiding.
The college uncovered Wu's illegal dental operation in Burnaby this past May, shutting the clinic down and warning hundreds of patients to get tested for blood-borne illnesses such as hepatitis and HIV.
It turns out Wu had been ordered by the court to stop practising dentistry without a licence back in 2003, prompting the college to ask the court to find him in contempt for violating the previous injunction.
The court agreed, convicting Wu in absentia and sentencing him to three months in jail. He was also ordered to pay for the college's investigation and legal bills, which have so far cost more than $140,000.
"Mr. Wu has gone into hiding, taking active steps to evade the college and the court," Jerome Marburg, the dental college's registrar and CEO, said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters.
"He is a person without honour or regard for Canadian civil society. He has preyed on the vulnerable and put many persons' health at significant risk."
Wu has so far evaded the college's efforts to find him, despite a $2,000 reward and a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest, though Marburg said the college believes he may be hiding somewhere in Vancouver.
Even if he does surface and is sent to jail, Marburg acknowledged the college may be unable to collect the money that the court ordered Wu to pay.
"This case will not truly be closed until Mr. Wu is found," said Marburg, who made no attempt to hide his distaste for Wu.
"This is a public health issue much more than a money issue as far as we're concerned."
A public complaint prompted college investigators and the RCMP to raid Wu's clinic in May.
According to court documents, which contain unproven allegations, the living room of the house was set up as a waiting room, with rows of folding chairs to accommodate patients, while the bedroom served as the operating room.
The bedroom was "filthy," the court documents say, with no source of sterilized water. Investigators did find a sterilizing machine, but it was unplugged and covered in dust, the documents say.
A search of Wu's car in August indicated he may have been planning to set up shop again, either in Vancouver or another city such as Toronto, the college has said.
The college believes Wu performed dental work on more than 450 people, who Marburg suggested may have been unfamiliar with the rules requiring dentists to be licensed or may have sought his services for cultural reasons.
Marburg said it's clear Wu had some dental training, though the college does not know the extent of that training.
So far, there have been no confirmed reports that any of Wu's patients contracted a blood-borne disease or suffered other complications from the dental work they received, but Marburg said there were still patients who have yet to be tested.
Wu's legal problems may deepen further.
The college has alleged Wu transferred significant amounts of money overseas and Marburg said the college will be in touch with the Canada Revenue Agency about those payments.
"Our conversation with CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) is hopefully going to bring more powers of the state to this case," said Marburg, who declined to
"There are indications that he has received quite a bit of money and he's transferred that over, and the concern is how much of that he may have reported or not."