Three more cases of fraud by group travel agents

Three more cases of fraud by group travel agents

About 40 women show up at the Anti Human Trafficking Division in Bangkok on Thursday to file a complaint about job placement fraud they say cost them about 1 million baht. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
About 40 women show up at the Anti Human Trafficking Division in Bangkok on Thursday to file a complaint about job placement fraud they say cost them about 1 million baht. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

More than 100 people who booked trips to Japan or Turkey, and masseuses seeking jobs in the Maldives have lost several million baht in total to tour organisers they accuse of fraud.

Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal, deputy commissioner of Tourist Police, said Thursday police had arrested Apinporn Pongpreechawong, 47, on Wednesday for allegedly tricking 35 people out of 1.08 million baht paid for a promised nine-day trip to Turkey.

The intending travellers told police they booked their trip with Ms Apinporn through social media and were told the cost was 31,000 baht each. The trip was scheduled from March 23 to 31, but despite their paying for it the trip never happened, and they were unable to contact Ms Apinporn.

Police also arrested Sonthaya Posri, 35, on Wednesday in another case involving 33 Thai tourists who flew to Japan on Feb 2 and were due to return home on Feb 6.

They paid 1.18 million for the trip but were abandoned at a restaurant in Osaka, after they were unable to pay the bill for their tour bus. They were told the suspect's tour company did not pay for the bus service.

The bus company withheld the tourists' luggage and passports. The vacationers sought help from local police and had to pay about 135,000 baht more to cover their costs while waiting for their return flight on Feb 6.

Mr Sonthaya failed to compensate them, and later could not be contacted, Pol Maj Gen Surachet said.

In a third case, about 40 people complained to police in Bangkok on Thursday that two women who charged them 20,000-30,000 baht each for their planned trip to the Maldives.

In March the two women promised via social media that they would get work as masseuses at a hotel in the Maldives, with food, accommodation and income guaranteed. They paid up, but the trip did not happen.

Pol Col Mana Kleepsatbut, deputy commander of the Anti Human Trafficking Division, said 49 people had showed up to file a complaint since Sunday. It was believed at least 100 people had been taken in by the fraud.

The suspects were identified as Pisamai Champakwaen and Jintana Wongwicha. They remained at large.


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