A TRAVEL scam had left more than 1,000 tourists stranded at an airport in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday.
According to Khaosod English, the travelers were conned after a phony company sold them a bogus week-long trip in Japan during the Songkran Thai new year holidays.
Despite hours of waiting at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, the duped travelers discovered the Osaka-bound chartered flight designated for them did not exist.
They claimed they paid a travel agency THB9,730 (US$281) and THB13,000 (US$376) for their tickets. Refusing to believe they were scammed, some even waited until midnight for the flight.
According to Khaosod, about 50 travellers told police their trips were planned by a multi-level marketing (MLM) firm instead of a genuine travel agency.
The group alleged a marketing company called Wealth Ever was responsible for the scam, saying passengers had been told different stories. Some passengers, the report said, were told the trip was a reward for joining the MLM scheme.
The airline which was touted as the carrier for the chartered flight has denied any knowledge of the trip.
The news site quoted the Consumer Protection Board as saying the company was not registered as a multi-level marketer and that the owner Pasist Arinchayalapis has disappeared.
In 2014, Pasist was said to have duped hopeful travellers to the United States and Maldives, according to a Facebook page Hell Tour, which has been tracking his activities.
Tourism Minister Kobkan Wattanavrangkul urged those affected to lodge police reports.
“We don’t know the exact number of tourists,” she was quoted as saying. “That’s why we’re operating a 24-hour hotline service to take complaints from them.”
**This article first appeared on Asian Correspondent