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Dental college raids East Vancouver home

Tung Sheng Wu, also known as David Wu, is believed to have been practicing dentistry illegally in B.C. since the 1990s. Aug. 7, 2012.

College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia

Two days after the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. said it was looking into reports of more illegal clinics, its investigators raided an East Vancouver home and seized equipment.

But the college remained tight-lipped on what led investigators to the home, or whether anyone inside will face legal action. Officials could be seen removing dental chairs and cardboard boxes from the basement of the modern, two-storey residence Thursday.

The raid came the same week that Tung Sheng Wu, also known as David Wu, was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court. Mr. Wu, who was accused of operating an unlicensed and unsanitary bedroom clinic in Burnaby, was handed a three-month jail term and ordered to pay costs.

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He was sentenced in absentia, however, and has not been seen in months. The college's investigators are still trying to find him and have suggested he may be in the Vancouver area, due to his family and personal connections.

The college said the East Vancouver raid was not linked in any way to Mr. Wu. A spokeswoman declined further comment. No one answered the door when a Globe and Mail reporter rang the bell.

Constable Brian Montague, a Vancouver police spokesman, wrote in an e-mail that officers were at the home to keep the peace as the college carried out its investigation. But he referred further comment to the college.

Jerome Marburg, the college's registrar and chief executive officer, said in a conference call following Mr. Wu's sentencing that the college was looking into more reports of illegal dentistry. But Mr. Marburg said he had to be very careful about what information he could release.

"Let's not screw around here, guys. This is public health, first and foremost. We're not going to do anything that will jeopardize our ability to protect the public," he said.

Mr. Marburg made no effort to hide his disdain for Mr. Wu, calling him "a person without honour or regard for Canadian civil society." He said Mr. Wu preyed on the vulnerable and put many people at significant risk.

Fraser Health has said Mr. Wu put 1,500 people at risk of blood-borne illnesses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Mr. Marburg said he was not aware of any of Mr. Wu's patients being diagnosed with such illnesses.

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Mr. Wu was first caught practising without a license in 2003 and signed a court order agreeing to stop. But the college received a tip in April that he was again practising and his clinic was raided in May. His vehicle was seized in August near the Vancouver airport, with dental equipment and his Canadian and Taiwanese passports inside. The college believed he was trying to ship the vehicle to Toronto.

Mr. Marburg said the college's investigation has cost more than $140,000. He said it was difficult to tell how many other illegal clinics could be in operation in B.C., because of their secretive nature.

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Based in Vancouver, Sunny has been with The Globe and Mail since November, 2010. More

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