Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Hong Kong gym sales staff jailed over membership sales fraud

Hong Kong gym sales staff jailed over membership sales fraud
September 9, 2019

Two sales staff at a Hong Kong gym have been jailed for three weeks for breaking the Trade Descriptions Ordinance in the Chinese Special Administrative Region.

Marking the first time fitness industry staff have been imprisoned for breaking Hong Kong sales laws, Wong Chin-chak and Tam Ka-hei, both aged 21 years, were jailed while two of their colleagues were sentenced to community service for their roles in a fraud that saw two people coerced into buying memberships and training packages at Go Goal Studios at a cost of HK$21,000 (US$2,700).

The Kowloon City Court heard the four defendants lured two people from the street into the gym in the Mong Kok district by asking them to complete a survey. During the process the individuals were then asked to provide their identity cards and bank card numbers to the sales team members.

The defendants told the pair - who were both students - they had “pressed the wrong button” after inputting the transaction, then telling the students they must withdraw all the money from their accounts before the transactions went through, the court heard.

The students were then intimidated into handing over most of the cash they withdrew to register in a range of fitness plans.

During the trial last week, defence lawyers pleaded for leniency, citing the relatively small amount involved, the defendants’ young age and their remorse for the crime.

However, as reported by the South China Morning Post, Magistrate Raymond Wong Kwok-fai refused to let Wong and Tam walk free, citing their poor assessments in their respective probation reports, which revealed the pair had a history with drugs.

Wong and Tam were found guilty of aggressive commercial practices for convincing a 22-year-old student into six training sessions at a cost of HK3,000 (US$380) on 24th March 2018. Fitness coach and fellow defendant Au Chuen-shun, aged25, was also convicted of forcing a 20-year-old student to pay HK$18,000 (US$2,300) for a membership on 4th April 2018.

Au was ordered to serve 90 hours of community service while salesmen and co-defendant Cheung Tsz Kin, aged 22, was ordered to serve 120 hours.

Cheung was also ordered to return HK$18,000 to his victim while the other three must each repay HK$1,000 to their victim.

After the incidents, 11 staff at the fitness centre were arrested.

In a press release, the Customs and Excise Department, which prosecuted the case, reminded business owners to comply with the ordinance’s requirements. They also urged consumers to procure services from reputable brands.

A number of instances of aggressive sales tactics in the fitness industry in Hong Kong in recent years have seen authorities take an increasingly strong stance in protecting consumers.

Image: Go Goal Studios.

Related Articles

21st August 2019 - Hong Kong fitness leaders to gather at the Asia Fitness and Wellness Summit

7th August 2019 - Event series to ‘connect Asia’s fitness industry’

7th July 2019 - FIBO CHINA grows to become Asia’s leading fitness event

27th April 2019 - California Fitness liquidators’ report shows chain operated at a loss for more than three years

12th April 2019 - Hong Kong authorities arrest gym staff for using aggressive sales tactics

25th February 2019 - Subscriber anger over ClassPass enacting rate hikes in Singapore and Hong Kong

6th June 2018 - IHRSA Report shows 22 million members at fitness clubs across key Asia-Pacific markets

16th March 2018 - Life Fitness and Pure Fitness introduce Apple GymKit in Hong Kong

1st March 2017 - Woman pestered into paying US$500,000 to join Hong Kong gym

20th August 2016 - Arnold Classic launches in Hong Kong

16th August 2016 - South China Morning Post reports on ‘the dark side’ of Hong Kong’s fitness industry

3rd June 2016 - Hong Kong Consumer Council slams California Fitness for aggressive sales practices

28th December 2015 - 11 Hong Kong fitness centre staff arrested after using undue influence to sell memberships

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Crystal Pools

Crystal Pools has a solid history of performance on a wide variety of government and commercial projects and is the name behind many of Australia’s most innovative and ambitious aquatic…

read more

Aquatics / Design



iEDM integrate Design, Engineering and Delivery Management services to convert existing spaces into exciting new entertainment venues. Our team consists of highly qualified professionals with diverse…

read more

Consultants / Design



Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues


Jonas Leisure

JonasLeisure offers a complete range of leading leisure and recreation software brands – envibe, Centaman, Gladstone Health & Leisure, The Retention People, Nutrition Complete and…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Fitness / Recreation / Sport


Anti Wave International

Anti Wave International is the original suppliers of top performance swim, aquatic sports, leisure and pool programming equipment. Founded in 1971, Anti Wave International is proud of its…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Sport



With its sleek good looks and easy-to-use yet powerful functionality, Envibe is the premium fitness club software for the Australasian leisure, recreation and fitness industry. We are the most…

read more

Aquatics / Fitness / Recreation / Technology



Quayclean are a national cleaning and waste services partner with proven results in the understanding and delivery of cleaning needs and challenges faced by facilities including; major venues and…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Surfaces / Venues



Gladstone Health & Leisure (Gladstone MRM Pty Ltd Australia) is a leading supplier of leisure management and fitness software and is endorsed by leading health and fitness professionals and…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business