Private Education Commission orders inquiry into school 'scam'

Private Education Commission orders inquiry into school 'scam'

Nepali students put to restaurant work

The Office of the Private Education Commission (Opec) has launched an inquiry following a report that 10 students from Nepal, who applied to take a hotel management course in Bangkok ended up working in the country and living in sub-par conditions.

Opec secretary-general, Chalam Attham, said on Monday that the school operators will be charged if they are found to have deceived the students who intended to take an eight-month course at the International Hotel and Airline Business School (I-HABS) in Bangkok.

The school is operated by managing director Sunil Khadka, director Sujan Basnet and president Siriwuth Wuthisuwanwat.

Two other Nepalese nationals are believed to be involved.

"I have received the report, and I have dispatched a team to verify I-HABS's certification," he told the Bangkok Post. "It will be easier if the victims can come forward, but we can file a lawsuit against the Nepali agents for defrauding the students."

Mr Chalam said he will raise the matter with the Embassy of Nepal and the Immigration Bureau after he has collected enough evidence.

The case came to light after Assajita Awale Dhanwa, the president of the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) Thailand, discovered that the 10 Nepali students were living in Bangkok in squalid conditions, despite having paid 500,000 Nepalese rupee (about 150,000 baht) to enrol on a hospitality course offered by I-HABS.

"I came across a video uploaded by the students, who said that they were told that they would receive training at five-star hotels in Sukhumvit and Nana," he said.

"Instead, they were forced to work in ordinary restaurants and were housed in a shabby building on Ram Intra Road."

Mr Dhanwa said the students could not run away, because their passports were seized by the so-called school."

He explained that the students realised that they were deceived when their visas were about to expire.

"They were enrolled by the school's agents in a Thai-language institution in Kalasin province in order to get their visas extended," he said.

"At that moment, they realised they were duped because if I-HABS were a real school, they wouldn't need to register at another school to get their permits extended."

Four other Nepali students had also been scammed by I-HABS, he said.

"When they asked for refunds, they were given dud cheques," Mr Dhanwa said.

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