BANGKOK — A chemistry professor has warned of radioactive elements in plastic “Energy Cards” being sold as a cure-all for ailments under a multi-level marketing scheme.
In a video uploaded late Friday, professor Weerachai Phutdhawong of Kasetsart University said that the “Energy Cards” being sold under the Expert Pro Network are radioactive. To sell the cards, the company has relied on both exaggerated claims and a pyramid scheme-like model where card distributors continuously recruit new card distributors who must pay for stock.
Many victims in rural Khon Kaen, especially the elderly, have bought into the scam, believing the card heals ailments when stuck on one’s body or dipped into water. Expert Pro Network distributors even claim the card can decrease the energy consumed by household appliances.
Weerachai said that cutting the card in half yielded a compressed white powder between the plastic sheets that contained radioactive and heavy metal materials. He warned against putting the card into water and drinking, as some people are doing.
The professor has sent the cards to the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology for further testing.
Weerachai also used the Japanese Ion Tester Com3010Pro machine, normally used on ores, to show that an Energy Card gave a reading of 7,610 negative ions per cubic centimeter. Interestingly, Expert Pro Network’s owner, Thanat Surin, employed the same machine to defend the card while on the Channel 3 Hoan Krasae show on Thursday.
Thanat used the machine to measure a card on the show, saying that the 8000-plus negative ion reading was a positive indication. Thanat did not elaborate on the machine beyond saying that “it measures ions.”
Police Maj. Gen. Phromnuttaket Hamkumpai of the Khon Kaen Provincial Police have interrogated nine Expert Pro Network distributors as of Saturday.
In response to ongoing investigations into his company by health and police officials, Thanat said Friday that he will “demand justice” for his company.
“We have been damaged by being portrayed as a scam, a pyramid scheme. It’s not true. I have a legitimate business selling supplements that is unrelated to the Energy Cards,” he said. “[The card] worked when I used it myself.”
But on Friday afternoon Songkhla Provincial Health Office’s head legal official, Wilaiwan Sakarintorn, filed a criminal complaint to the Hat Yai Police against the food supplements also being sold by Expert Pro Network. Wilaiwan said that the supplements had fake FDA serial numbers and misleading labels. Thanat had claimed the previous day on the Hoan Krasae show that he gave the cards as free samples along with the supplements.
Meanwhile in Khon Kaen, where distributors hawk the cards for 1,100 to 1,500 baht each, people are renouncing the Energy Cards. In Baan Saladin village in Ubolratana district, Tongsri Wongchaiawet, 66, and her husband Kian Yomkoanta, 66, have stopped using them. Previously, they would soak the Energy Cards in their drinking water.
“My wife and I have been tricked. I will slash it to pieces without feeling sorry about it, even though I paid over a thousand baht for it,” Kian said.
Still, some still believe in the card. Khon Kaen governor Somsak Jungtrakul has instructed local officials down to the village level to inform residents of the scam and prevent further sales.