South Korea’s prosecution has for the first time put on trial online shopping websites for selling what are commonly referred to as ‘plastic surgery coupons’ to customers in collusion with plastic surgery hospitals.
Despite the argument that the practice is nothing more than a marketing strategy, South Korean prosecutors believe that for online shopping malls to collude with plastic surgeons in essentially selling plastic surgery in the form of coupons represents a breach of the country’s medical laws.
Three officials in connection with two online shopping websites, including a 42-year-old man named Kang, have been charged without detention for selling up to 98 percent discount coupons for plastic surgery at certain hospitals, while over 30 plastic surgeons have also been either charged without detention or summarily indicted on similar charges.
From 2012 to 2016, more than 270,000 patients visited the two websites in question, spending over 18 billion won.
The shopping websites are facing criminal charges for illegally receiving 15 to 20 percent commissions from newly established plastic surgery hospitals in return for acting as brokers to introduce the hospitals to their customers.
Under current medical laws in South Korea, it’s illegal for business establishments to introduce or help attract customers to plastic surgeons, or any other medical institution for that matter.
Officials from the websites in question are facing additional charges for using misleading language and manipulating reviews, practices that are also illegal.
While the medical community argues that it’s a mere marketing strategy, the prosecution of shopping websites over collusion with plastic surgeons is likely to have a significant impact on the controversial ties between the two parties.