Folk singer gets suspended sentence, fined over food supplement ad

Amanda M. Rye

Yingyong Yodbua-ngam, a famous Thai folk singer and actor, on Thursday was given a suspended prison sentence of one year and fined Bt25,000 by Nonthaburi provincial court for exaggerating the medical efficacy of Chong Cao (cordyceps sinensis), a traditional Chinese remedy for the kidneys.

Yongyong went on television on December 21, 2020 and advertised the medical quality of a food supplement made from Chong Cao, saying that it could cure joint and knee pain in elderly people. The advertisement has led to complaints being filed against him and the advertising company, Nine Perfect Media Ltd, for exaggerating product quality and advertising the quality of food or drug without permission from the Food and Drug Administration.

The defendants pleaded guilty to the charges, which carries a sentence of two years’ imprisonment and Bt50,000 fine. Their confession led to the court halving their jail term to one year under suspension and imposing a fine of Bt25,000.

Earlier in January, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission had announced that it was tying up with the Food and Drug Administration to target those who have been falsely advertising food supplements on media channels, especially the cordyceps sinensis, which have been publicised as a cure-all, especially for kidney disease.

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