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The dude has every right to be scowling this way! Image: ST Photo/Kevin Lim

Chanced upon online ads flashing images of an oddly familiar man, posing for pills promising to pump you up, Magic Mike-style?

Newsflash: That man is not Zheng Geping.

Okay fine, said stud is indeed Zheng Geping, but Singapore’s favourite silver fox would like you to know he did not co-sign on having his image used for aforementioned ad, thank you very much.   

Here’s what went down. The fitness fanatic was minding his own business, whipping up protein shakes and I don’t know, humming along to Taylor Swift on his iPod, when he was alerted by a buddy to the dubious ad.  

Rhetorical question: Who would want to have their grinning mug, glistening topless torso and all, being front and centre of a dodgy online campaign fobbing shady diet supplements? Not Zheng Geping, for one.

Witness the man of the hour’s emphatic response, per the Straits Times: “My photographs were used without my permission and I do not endorse those products. I feel the need to warn the public against taking them.”

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This man is fifty. Fifty! Image: Zheng Geping’s Facebook

Oh yeah, hunky Uncle Geping (he’s 50, by the way) would also have you know that his jacked up bod is built upon a solid (and steroid-free) foundation of fitness and clean food: “It won’t happen overnight. I put in a lot of hard work, going to the gym at least three times a week and running on alternate days. I also had to follow a strict diet.” So no, no quick fixes for a fab figure, more’s the pity.

And now for an obligatory public service announcement:  The good folks at the Health Sciences Authority have also uh, weighed in, so to speak, on this slimming scandal: “Health products sold on the Internet pose a high risk of harm to consumers as there are no means to verify the source, safety and quality of these products.” The implication is clear as day: Don’t do it!

Also, sneaky sellers of illicit pills might want to think twice before doing a Zheng Geping or Chen Li Ping – you’re setting yourself up for one hell of a lawsuit. As lawyer Chia Boon Teck puts it: “I would advise Mr Zheng to consult American lawyers on the possibility of suing in the US. Given that product endorsement by celebrities is a billion-dollar industry in the US, I don’t think they would take kindly to an advertiser using a celebrity’s image without his endorsement.”

So yes, here’s a reminder not to succumb to the temptation of clicking “pay now” on any slimming supplement ads you spy online, and to Uncle Geping: Sue, sue, sue!

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