Goddammit. I just executed the saddest spit-take ever.

HANOI, Vietnam — An acupuncturist who claims she can detect a man's virginity based on a small dot on the ear has become a minor celebrity in Vietnam, where she is credited with helping to free three convicted rapists from prison.

Traditional medicine practitioner Pham Thi Hong started lobbying for the men's release, pleading their case all the way to the president, because she believes all three men are virgins and therefore could not be guilty of rape.

"They all had small red spots on the back of their ears," said Hong, 54. "The spots should have disappeared if they had had sex. My many years of experience told me that these men did not have sex before."

Her claims are unusual even for a country where acupuncture and traditional medicine are still common remedies, but Hong's determination to have the case reopened — even threatening to light herself on fire — led to prosecutors re-examining the case. The convictions eventually were suspended due to flaws by initial investigators.

I can't figure out what bothers me the most: The fact that Hong says she was originally taught to detect a man's virginity by taking his pulse; that she now says the magical ear dot is way more reliable because it only disappears after sex with a lady—not gay sex or masturbation; or that threatening to light herself on fire reinforced her credibility with prosecutors rather than destroyed it.