Registration cancelled for doping colleague’s drinks


The pharmacist who was convicted in 2016 of spiking his colleague’s drinks has had his registration cancelled for four years

Yan Chi Cheung was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment over the offences, and was released on parole in July 2017.

Now, the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission has found that he was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and not suitable to hold registration as a pharmacist.

Mr Cheung had been convicted of administering a poison with the intention to injure or cause distress or pain, after he slipped drugs into a pharmacy assistant colleague’s water and coffee on a number of occasions.

He had told police that he intended to cause the pharmacy assistant “suffering” after he made sexual advances to her which she did not accept: he opened her mail, visited her home and touched her inappropriately until she confronted him and asked him to stop.

It was only after this confrontation that the drink spiking began.

He later claimed that he did not mean to cause her harm and that the drugs had been meant to “keep her quiet” in the workplace.

The drugs he used included Phenergan, doxylamine, Deptran, Seroquel and Endep. Mr Cheung administered the drugs to the unknowing pharmacy assistant on around 23 occasions over nearly 12 months, getting to work early on some occasions to crush tablets.

The pharmacy assistant suffered from a number of side-effects after she drank the beverages, including hyper-sensitivity, intense drowsiness and detachment from her surroundings. At times she nearly collapsed.

Mr Cheung said that had reflected on his deeds and that he had sent a letter of apology to the woman, which she had not replied to.

His actions had been out of character, he said.

The Tribunal noted that Mr Cheung’s conduct had been “very serious” and involved detailed planning.

Mr Cheung “used his specialised pharmaceutical knowledge to select drugs that he thought would be undetected. He specifically used colourless, soluble drugs: He used specialised pharmaceutical equipment, and his knowledge of how to use it, to crush the drugs and use filter paper to administer it,” the Tribunal noted.

“The drugs are known to have a number of adverse side effects, and the respondent had detailed knowledge of these effects. The respondent was undeterred by the prospect that [the woman] could suffer side-effects, and in cross-examination said that he did not give this any thought.”

The Tribunal ordered that Mr Cheung’s registration be cancelled with a non-review period of four years.

It found he “presently poses a substantial risk to the health of members of the public”.

He has also been ordered not to provide pharmaceutical services while not registered as a pharmacist.

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