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Tongkat ali scams on Alibaba

By Serge Kreutz (2011)

As of autumn 2011, the most prolific tongkat ali scam activity is happening on Alibaba, and is operated by Chinese con artists.

The pattern by which these scams are operated is so predictable that they could even be devised by a single source.

The following scheme is usually applied:

1. All Chinese scams claim to be large companies. Some even include photos of university campuses or 50-floor office towers, and claim it to be their company compounds.

2. They all claim to be GMP, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, or have any other additional quality certification they know off. If certificates are shown, they are forgeries.

3. Usually, photos are shown that depict workers at laboratories or chemical factories. These photos are just harvested on the Internet. Photos that do not have written identification as part of the photo do not prove anything.

4. Expect your Chinese Internet scammer to be a computer or Internet nerd. Therefore, he will be on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, have one or two Messenger accounts, a Skype account, and be accessible via any additional fad. (Anyway, the operation is a computer scam, not a traditional firm, which has other priorities, rather than network hype.)

5. They will claim to either run an own tongkat ali plantation in Southern China, or have their stock imported from Malaysia. All lies, of course. Tongkat ali is a small tree of tropical rain forests. It does not grow in China. China has no tropical rain forests, and even in the southern-most part of Yunnan, winters always have cold days below 10 centigrade. Tongkat ali also is not a plant suited for plantations as it grows under the shade of much larger trees. As for the alleged Malaysian origin: tongkat ali is a protected plant in Malaysia.

6. Of course, the extracts they ship are not made from tongkat ali but any other plant material. And the buyer isn't even safe from their shit when buying from a Western source. Chinese tongkat ali scams typically sell wholesale quantities to American, European, and Singaporean distributors.

Remember the scandal concerning Chinese baby formula milk? That poisonous concoction reached supermarket shelves throughout the world, simply because it was cheap.

And you know what rich Chinese do? They drive luxury cars made in Germany. They will NEVER consume China-made alcoholic drinks. They eat Australian beef, Thai fruit, US-grown nuts and berries, wear Italian clothes, and play British sports.

Anything but Chinese.

Now, how can you protect yourself against the hazards of Chinese tongkat ali?

First, assume that any photographic documentation that does not include written authentication within the photo is fake and indicates a scam. Photos of buildings should have signboards with the company name. Photos of machinery should show inventory authentication. Photos of vehicles and people should show company name tags.

Whether you buy from a Western distributor or an overseas site, demand some information on the source of the tongkat ali extract you want to buy.

Reputable distributors will tell you where they get their supply from. Cheats will come up with excuses such as: our sources is a company secret, or: we employ our own collectors in the forests of Malaysia and Indonesia

Where is the photographic proof?

Company secret, haha.

This is not 1911 but 2011. Any business in previously colonial parts of the world now has a website with which they do all they can to access the global market.

There are no suppliers that are genuine trade secrets (except for illegal drugs). If you inquire by email, and they come up with trade secret excuses as for the origin of their raw materials or extracts, you know its phony and you are dealing with a scam.

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Copyright Serge Kreutz