Hundreds of travellers in Bangkok tricked in Japan travel scam

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BANGKOK: More than 2,000 people were left stranded at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport over the span of Tuesday (Apr 11) and Wednesday after falling victim to a scam.

They had bought a tour package for a week-long trip to Japan for between 9,700 baht (US$281) and 20,000 baht but were not given any itinerary or tickets for the trip.

The company which had sold the packages, WealthEver, markets food supplements and is not registered with Thailand’s Office of Consumer Protection Board (OCPB) as a tour company.

The passengers who were tricked had arrived at the airport to find no WealthEver representatives to guide them. The airport was already crowded with people leaving the country during the Songkran holiday.

Cathay Pacific, which WealthEver said would fly the passengers to Osaka from Bangkok, was not aware of the six chartered flights as claimed in the leaflets.

Thai authorities dealing with the situation anticipate that more scammed passengers would arrive at the airport on Thursday.

According to the Bangkok Post, police arrested the mastermind behind the scam in Ranong province on Wednesday afternoon. Pasist Arinchayalapis, also known as Shogun, was pictured in police custody.

Executive for the OCPB, Colonel Prateep Charoenka, said WealthEver might have committed fraud and vowed to investigate. While it has not declared itself a direct-selling company, it had convinced people to join its online marketing network, he said.

Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the government agencies concerned to provide assistance and look into the case. He told journalists on Wednesday that the case will be addressed through the country’s legal processes.

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