Sonny Hang Chin (65), who calls himself a “body technician”, was found guilty on 10 charges of indecent assault following a jury trial at the Dunedin District Court in March.
“Your way of treating sexual trauma was to put your hands down the pants of the traumatised person,” Judge David Robinson said.
“You have a pattern of eliciting vulnerabilities and exploiting them.”
Today the court heard from the victims whose lives had been irrevocably altered by their ordeal at the hands of Chin.
“I felt dirty, ashamed and frozen in time… I felt safe nowhere,” one said.
Another woman said Chin was a “narcissistic, serial predator”, calling attention to his “total lack of remorse and inability to take accountability”.
“For you to brazenly sexually assault a grieving mother is absolutely vile and unforgiveable” another victim said.
Chin molested the patients over 13 years and the conduct continued even after police had warned him in 2016.
When a woman came forward that year, officers discovered an earlier complaint from 2012.
Both said Chin had been treating them when he groped their breasts without warning.
One described the defendant poking her pelvic area.
“I just froze. I went dead cold, the blood just drained out of my body,” the victim said.
When Detective Wayne O’Connell interviewed Chin about the two complaints, the healer denied any sexual touching but accepted his work had perhaps not been “best practice”.
“I’m not there to be a sexual pervert, I’m not like that in my work. My work is strictly professional,” he said.
Three more women approached police after sessions with Chin in 2019.
Like several of the women, the victim whose complaint instigated the most recent police inquiry said Chin quizzed her about historical sexual abuse and family tensions.
As she lay on her back on a massage table, the defendant slipped his hand under her top and bra and indecently assaulted her.
As a result, Chin was again interviewed by police in February 2020, dominating an hour-long conversation with explanations about his qigong techniques.
He claimed he had to act quickly with that patient, who was being overwhelmed by her trauma, and had received consent to touch her breasts.
“She was triggered, she was sinking and I had to save her . . . otherwise they stay in a semi-zombie state,” Chin told police.
During the trial, the court also heard from a woman who sought treatment for back pain from the defendant in 2016.
She said Chin was working on her sternum when he struck.
“Towards the end of it when he was doing that he pulled my bra down and bit my nipple. I just lay there thinking ‘What the hell was that?’,” she said.
Counsel Anne Stevens argued her client should receive credit for his previous good character, saying “it would be a matter of great pain if Mr Chin was not to receive credit for the work he has done that is of great benefit.”
An aggravating factor of his offending was the “manipulation” that accompanied the physical assaults.
Crown solicitor Pip Norman classified the ongoing commentary of the women’s bodies a deliberate manipulation strategy to “exacerbate vulnerability” and “shock the victims”.
As the facts of his offending were read out in court, Chin stood shaking his head.
“I saw you shake your head. I do not detect remorse,” said Judge Robinson.