Tour party left grounded by bogus trip to Russia
published : 4 May 2017 at 15:34
writer: Sutthiwit Chayutworakan
Twenty-five tourists who paid for a travel package to Russia were left standing at Suvarnabhumi airport on Thursday morning after the man who sold them the package pocketed most of the money.
Jessada Honghin, 32, chief tour guide with the travel company, was arrested. Police said he later admitted that he took the money from the customers and spent it on himself.
The disappointed tourists, most of them senior citizens looking forward to a five-star leisure trip to Russia, filed their complaint with Suvarnabhumi airport police around 10am.
Thanat Kasdier, 61, said most of the group had retired and wanted to reward themselves for all their hard work with an overseas trip. They bought the tour through Mr Jessada on the recommendation of a friend who previously bought a package from him without any problem.
They thought they were going to Moscow and Zagorsk in Russia. The cost was 39,000 baht each with the trip scheduled for May 4-10, leaving Bangkok by Qatar Airways at 10am on Thursday.
Ms Thanat said the offered package seemed reasonable, and included accommodation and visits to tourist attractions, so she transferred the money to Mr Jessada.
Unfortunately, when Ms Thanat and the other travellers went to check-in at the airport, the company informed them Mr Jessada did not pay for the accommodation and no programme was prepared for them. They had only the round-trip ticket to Moscow.
One of the tourists managed to contact Mr Jessada and asked him to come to the airport, and he was arrested when he arrived. He allegedly admitted to them he had spent the money on himself and did not make arrangements for the tour.
Pol Maj Gen Thammanoon Traithippong, commander of Samut Prakan police, said Mr Jessada knew the tour business well and easily cheated his customers. He had embezzled around one million baht for own use.
Mr Jessada was charged with operating a tour business without a permit, and fraud.