SINGAPORE — A Melbourne doctor who posted on a local online forum that “some women deserve to be raped” and other offensive comments has been suspended indefinitely amid an investigation by Australia’s health practitioner watchdog.
Christopher Kwan Chen Lee was previously found guilty in April of professional misconduct by the Tasmanian Health Practitioners Tribunal, for posting racist and sexist remarks on HardwareZone’s forum, which is owned by Singapore Press Holdings.
For that, the 31-year-old Malaysian was suspended for six weeks until 11 June.
On Thursday (6 June), the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) extended his suspension. The MBA does not have the power to deregister a practitioner – the decision can only be made by an independent tribunal.
"The board has taken this action in the public interest to maintain confidence in the medical profession," it said in a statement on Friday. “The board will not be making any further comment in relation to Dr Lee at this time.”
The University of Melbourne graduate was employed in Tasmania for two years from February 2016.
He was working as a registrar at Box Hill in Victoria early this year when he was found guilty by the Tasmanian tribunal.
Tribunal chairman Robert Webster had described Lee’s posts as “socially unacceptable” and “disrespectful of women” in a 17 April decision.
“Some of the online posts might reasonably be interpreted as being racially discriminatory and contrary to acceptable social norms in Australia,” said Webster, making reference to 21 posts that Lee made mostly on the online forum.
In 2016, using the online handle nachtsider, Lee wrote that a particular woman needed to be “repeatedly raped in order for her to wake up her idea” and that he could just as “easily condemn your mother for a whore” as he could save lives.
“Some women deserve to be raped, and that supercilious little bitch fits the bill in every way,” he posted in the same year. “If my marriage fell apart, it would not end in divorce. It would end in murder”.
He allegedly took revenge on a woman who criticised him online by sharing a link to her nude photos, which forced her to close down her online accounts. “A new legion of perverts” would be viewing her images, concluded Lee, “I won.”
In his submissions as stated in the decision, Lee said that he was “relatively young and inexperienced” and had a brash and opinionated bent to his conduct on social media.
The comments about rape were made in a Singapore and Malaysia socio-political context “where as a result of certain events a local female college student made disparaging remarks about servicemen”, the decision stated.
“It is agreed he did not fully appreciate that posting comments on a Singaporean online forum would have consequences on his practice of medicine in Australia,” it added.
Lee was also separately issued a caution in July last year after he accessed a patient's medical records 21 times "without consent or clinical need".
Last month, according to British newspaper Guardian, the MBA had launched a fresh investigation into Lee after Guardian Australia reported that he had also shared patients’ medical records, including x-rays of the chest of a four-year-old girl suffering from pneumonia.
An online petition set up in April had called for Lee’s medical licence to be revoked, garnering over 5,800 signatures.
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