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A Harley Street doctor who provoked fury after going on an elephant-hunting trip to Africa was on Friday charged with fraud and money laundering offences.
Dr Benjamin Chang, 54, was arrested on suspicion of writing fake invoices to insurance firms in December 2014.
Officers reportedly raided the orthopaedic specialist’s private surgery and his £1.1m detached home in north London in connection to the allegation that he wrote bogus accident treatment claims for physiotherapy patients.
He was charged with fraud by false representation, possession of articles for use in fraud and money laundering and released on bail to appear in City of London Magistrates court on 6 May.
The doctor, who was born in Hong Kong, sparked controversy in 2009 when he was photographed giving the thumbs up while sitting on the head of an elephant he had just shot in Zimbabwe.
The animal was reported to be one of three elephants he killed after paying £5,600 to take part in the shoot.
Separately, he was pictured with a dead lioness he had killed in South Africa.
Dr Chang was part of a hunting party visiting the Hwange national park who culled a herd of 11 elephants, including young calves.
The cull took place in areas where elephants are said to be destroying the environment and was permitted by the Zimbabwean government. Most of the money was passed on to the Zimbabwean park authorities.
At the time, he defended killing the elephants, insisting it helped the Zimbabwean people and was the most humane method of killing. He added that the elephant meat was donated to starving villagers.
He told the Times: ‘The meat goes to the village. They are queuing at the camp saying, “Please give us the meat”. I was told one elephant will feed one village for three and a half months.’
He also defended the practice of foreigners paying to kill elephants, saying that the army did not have the necessary guns to shoot the animals.
Dr Chang, who trained as a doctor in Ireland, was arrested in November by City of London Police on suspicion of fraud by false representation.
He is listed as the director of the Milton Medical Centre in Luton, the headquarters of which is said to be in Kenley, Surrey. His wife Corrina Chang is listed as the company secretary.
Dr Chang, who also had consulting rooms in London’s Harley Street, is registered with the General Medical Council but has not had a licence to practise since August.
A City of London Police spokesman said when he was arrested: ‘Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department detectives investigating the supply of what are suspected to be fake invoices for physiotherapy treatment arrested a 54-year-old man from north London on suspicion of fraud by false representation.