TV CELEBRITY cosmetic surgeon Dr Piyapong Howilailak and his wife Pavena Namsongkhram yesterday proclaimed their innocence after responding to a police summons to explain their alleged endorsement of a product under the scandal-tainted Magic Skin brand.
Meanwhile, national police deputy chief Pol General Weerachai Songmetta said summonses had been issued to seven more individuals for them to testify as witnesses about their alleged involvement in manufacturing and distributing Magic Skin products. The products have been at the centre of allegations about dubious legality and alleged sub-standard quality.
The seven – Pavee Pandamrongsatit, Thippawan Tanchai, Sunee Kromsungnoen, Apiwat Pongpattananukul, Natthanan Aoumkaew, Kritsanapol Pinjorhor and Siriyanee Ritdeesirithorn – are separate to the batch of 59 Thai celebrities that police would summon for information about product advertisements, Weerachai said.
The 31-year-old Piyapong – whose love story with Pavena was made famous by the television show “Take Me Out” – insisted to Weerachai that his appearance in a Facebook Live video clip about the Cleo slimming powder drink product was a move to “help out with the wife’s product-selling”. It was not a “product review” advertisement and he was not paid nor under contract, he said.
He said he wore a doctor’s gown-style shirt in the Facebook Live clip alongside one of the suspects in the case, Kasit “Ying Yuay” Worachington – who has been arrested and released on bail – because he always had the shirt in his car. He said he didn’t know that that could be considered a breach of professional medical ethics.
Pavena admitted that she had been a distributor of Magic Skin products for less than a month before this scandal broke. She claimed she spent Bt300,000 to buy the products to sell. Denying accusation that she used her husband’s medical position to boost sales, she told police that she and Piyapong were also damaged persons.
She claimed that she checked the products’ label for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hallmarks and had tried one product and lost a kilogram of body weight in a week.
Medical Council of Thailand member Dr Sampan Khomrit revealed on Monday that the council would soon summon Piyapong to explain himself about the alleged ethics breach of using his position as a doctor to endorse a health product. A committee would be assigned to investigate him mid-month.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that he had instructed the FDA and related agencies to implement more measures, such as more random checks and stricter screening, when registering products in a bid to screen out sub-standard food supplements. He also urged the public to help alert the authorities to illegal or substandard products.
Meanwhile, news radio reporter Kriengkraimas “DJ Kendo” Phochanasunthorn yesterday filed a police complaint with the Technology Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok, asking that a charge of inputting false information to a computer system be laid against Manita Rattanakasemchai, a key saleswoman for controversy-hit Lyn weigh loss product. He accused Manita of having doctored their 28-minute phone conversation about controversial products into a three-minute audio clip so as to discredit him.