UPDATE: Japan travel scam mastermind caught
After selling thousands of Thai tourists cheap trips to Japan, fake travel agent suddenly disappears.
Japan travel scam mastermind caught by police
"Shogun" or Pasist Arinchayalapis, the alleged mastermind of the massive scam that sold bogus Japan trips to thousands of unwary Songkran revellers has been apprehended in the southern town of Ranong and will be flown to Bangkok for interrogation and booking.
Shogun was arrested in Ranong while she and her family were escaping.
Footage of a CCTV shows Pasit Arinchalatis (right) and her family leaving their condominium on Tuesday night. (Photo released by Crime Suppression Division)
Police and soldiers in Chumphon and Ranong were on alert and instructed to intercept the vehicle of Shogun, a grey Mitsubishi Pajero sports utility vehicle (SuV), according to the Crime Supression DIvision (CSD).
Marine police were keeping an eye on the Andaman Coast, while helicopters flew from Bangkok to the southern province for aerial patrol on roads expected to be her escape route, the agency said.
TOURISM & FRAUD
Travel agent strands hundreds at Suvarnabhumi
Tuesday night, thousands of Thai tourists were left waiting at Suvarnabhumi airport for a flight to Japan that never happened.
More than 50 police officers were sent from the nearby Samut Prakan police station to join tourist police and Suvarnabhumi airport police to investigate what happen.
The culprit appears to be a company that normally sells vitamins and food supplements with the rather suspect name WealthEver. The company had claimed to be arranging Songkran trips to Japan for people.
The Office of the Consumer Protection announced that the company WealthEver was never registered with them for any service including even the sale of food supplements. (Facebook link in Thai here).
WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED?
They were told their flights would be between Tuesday night and Sunday.
When the would-be tourists arrived at Gate 1 of the departure hall at 8pm at Suvarnabhumi as directed, there was no sign of the promised WealthEver representative to guide them to the check-in counter for their flights.
Some tourists did not have transport back home so had to stay at airport.
JUST THE BEGINNING: MORE SCAMMED GROUPS SCHEDULED TO SHOW UP AT AIRPORT
Authorities believe that another large group of people will show up at the airport on Wednesday for more flights that don't exist.
Lots of time at the airport for scammed travelers when flights to Japan turn out to be fake.
NO NEED TO COME TO THE AIRPORT, IF YOU WERE SCAMMED
There is no need for other victims of the scam to come to the airport, they can file a complaint at police stations where they live.
All information will be handed over to the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), which will be the lead agency handling the case.
Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul talked with some tourists at the airport but refused to speak with the media.
Disappointed children as whole families scammed by fake travel agent.
SOME SCAMMED TOURISTS STRANDED AT AIRPORT WITHOUT TRANSPORT BACK HOME
They realised they were not going to Japan.
Yet other travelers had to stay at Suvarnabhumi because they lacked transport to return home during the Songkran break.
Nirun Saentaweesuk from Ubon Ratchathani said he bought a travel package for 88,200 baht for himself and nine persons.
"I've decided to meet Suvarnabhumi airport police after finding out that I was conned," he said.
Passengers were stranded at Suvarnabhumi airport on Tuesday night after discovering there was no trip to Japan after all. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Learn from listening
- according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน
- aerial: in the air; done in the air - ซึ่งอยู่ในอากาศ
- alleged: claimed to be true although not yet proven; claimed to have done something wrong but not yet proven - ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
- announce: to tell people something officially, especially about a decision, plans, etc - ประกาศ, แจ้ง, แจ้งให้ทราบ
- appear: to seem - ดูเหมือนจะ, ดูเหมือนว่า
- apprehended (verb): caught; arrested; caught by the police - ถูกจับ, โดนจับกุม
- arrange: to plan or organize something in advance - จัดเตรียม, เตรียมการ
- arrested: caught by the police and taken to a police station because you are believed to have committed a crime - ถูกจับกุม
- authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
- bogus (adj): not real, although pretending to be real - ปลอม, เทียม
- book: to buy a ticket in advance; to arrange to have or use something on a particular date in the future - จอง
- booking: arrest; the formal process of arrest -
- brochure: a small magazine or book containing pictures and information about something or advertising something - แผ่นพับ
- budget: an amount of money able to be spent on something - งบประมาณ
- budget: not expensive, usually because of providing only a limited service or product - ถูก,ประหยัด,ไม่แพง
- charter: a boat, plane, or bus that is available for hire, especially for use by a group of people; to hire a boat, plane or bus - เครื่องบินเหมาลำ, การเช่าเหมาเรือ, เช่าเหมา
- cheap: costing little money or less money than you expected - ถูก
- check-in: the place where you go first when you arrive at an airport, to show your ticket, etc - เช็คอิน
- claim (noun): saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
- complaint: when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory - การบ่น, ข้อที่ไม่พอใจ
- con: a dishonest plan or method for making someone give you money - การโกหก, การหลองลวง
- consumer: someone who buys and uses goods and services - ผู้บริโภค
- counter: a long flat surface over which goods are sold or business is done in a shop/store, bank, etc - เคาน์เตอร์, โต๊ะขนาดยาว
- Crime Suppression Division (CSD): a national police department responsible for conducting most of the technical investigations of criminal offenses - กองบังคับการปราบปราม
- culprit: someone who has done something wrong - ผู้กระทำความผิด
- disappear: to no longer exist; to no longer be in use - หายไป, สาบสูญ, สูญหาย
- disappointed: unhappy because someone or something was not as good as you hoped or expected, or because something did not happen - ผิดหวัง
- escape (verb): to get away from a place; to leave a place where you are in danger - หนี
- flight (noun): a trip on an airplane; a plane making a particular journey - การเดินทางด้วยเครื่องบิน; เที่ยวบิน
- fraud: the crime of intentionally deceiving someone or cheating in order to gain an advantage or benefit - การฉ้อโกง การหลอกลวง เล่ห์เพทุบาย
- guide: to help somebody to move in a particular direction; to move something in a particular direction; to direct or influence somebody's behaviour - นำทาง, นำไป
- holidaymakers: people on vacations or "holidays" -
- instruct (verb): to tell somebody to do something, especially in a formal or official way - สั่ง
- intercept: to stop and catch something or someone before they are able to reach a particular place - สกัด
- interrogation: asking someone a lot of questions in order to get information - การสอบถาม, การซักถาม
- investigate: to try to find out the facts about something in order to learn the truth about it - ตรวจสอบหาความจริง
- keeping an eye on: looking for something -
- lack (verb): to not have something - ขาด
- lead: taking the leadership or management role in some project -
- marine: relating to the sea and creatures that live in it - เกี่ยวกับทะเล
- massive: very large in size, amount or number - ใหญ่โต
- mastermind: to plan a difficult or complicated operation, especially a crime - วางแผน
- media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
- minister: a member of the cabinet, the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - รัฐมนตรี
- normally: as usual; properly - ตามปกติ
- on alert: ready to deal with a dangerous situation - เตรียมพร้อม อย่างเต็มที่
- package: many goods or services sold together in one "package" -
- passenger: someone who travels in a motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or ship but is not the driver or one of the people who works on it - ผู้โดยสาร
- patrol: to move regularly around a place in order to prevent trouble or crime or to watch for an enemy - ลาดตระเวน
- promise (verb): to say that you will do something for sure; to commit that you'll do something for certain - สัญญา
- protection: the act of protecting somebody/something; the state of being protected - การอารักขา, การปกป้อง
- realise (verb): to know about - ตระหนัก รู้
- refuse (verb): to say or show that you will not do something; to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ
- register: an official list of names of people who are allowed to do something, e.g., vote, study, stay in a hotel etc - ทะเบียน
- representative: someone who has been chosen or elected by a person or group to vote, give opinions, or make decisions for them - ผู้แทน
- reveller: someone who enjoys themselves at a celebration or noisy party by singing, dancing or by drinking alcohol - ผู้ืที่ออกมาโห่ร้อง เต้นรำเพื่อการเฉลิมฉลอง
- route: the roads used to go from one place to another - เส้นทาง
- scam: a dishonest plan, especially for getting money - กลโกง, แผนร้าย
- sign: a piece of evidence that something is happening or that something exists - ร่องรอย
- suddenly (adverb): quickly and unexpectedly - อย่างกะทันหัน
- supplement: a pill or special food that you take or eat when your food does not contain everything that you need - อาหารเสริม
- suspect: to believe that something is true, especially something bad - สงสัย, เป็นที่สงสัยว่า
- testimony: a formal statement about something that you say, know or experienced, usually given to a court of law - คำให้การ
- transport: moving people or things from one place to another - การขนส่ง
- unwary: not suspecting or thinking that anything was wrong -
- vehicle: a machine that you travel in or on, especially one with an engine that travels on roads, e.g., a car, bus, van, truck, etc. - ยานพาหนะ
- victim: someone who has been harmed, injured or killed as the result of a crime - เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
- vitamins: various substances that the body needs to stay healthy - วิตามิน
- would-be (adj): hoping to become the type of person mentioned ซึ่งอยากจะเป็น - hoping to become the type of person mentioned ซึ่งอยากจะเป็น