Tourists deceived: Travel agency crew ‘unpacked’ by police on fraud charges in South Thailand

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Six people from a travel agency have been apprehended by the Provincial Police on charges of fraud in Surat Thani, South Thailand. The suspects are accused of selling counterfeit overseas package tours to a minimum of 99 customers, resulting in damages amounting to 27 million baht.

The six arrested allegedly include Sumontri Sonnong, Phanuda Thepchum, Kobsak Pensawat, and Wongchan Pensawat, as well as two unidentified staff members. They were taken into custody on Sunday, June 4 and have since been charged with fraud and entering false information into a computer system, both of which they deny.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Saranyu Chamnanrat, the Surat Thani Provincial Police chief, explained that the suspects had legally registered their travel agency in 2022 with the intent to offer tour packages. However, they proceeded to sell fraudulent package tours, reported Bangkok Post. The company advertised extremely low-cost packages to numerous popular overseas destinations, such as Japan, the Netherlands, and five Central European countries: Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, and Hungary.

These packages were promoted on the agency’s Facebook page at prices significantly lower than those offered by other tour agents. The agency falsely claimed that it could provide such low prices due to sponsorship from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

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Customers who purchased these tours discovered they had been scammed on their scheduled departure day. The suspects, aged between 40 and 60 years old, are originally from Phun Phin, Ban Ta Khun, and Kanchanadit districts.

So far, at least 99 victims have filed complaints with the Surat Thani Provincial Police Division or at the Kanchanadit Police Station, reporting damages totalling approximately 25.8 million baht.

Crime NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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