400 people fall victim to Japan tour scam resulting in 14 million baht loss

Representatives from 10 travel agencies filed a complaint with the Central Investigation Bureau after being lured into buying 14 million baht worth of fake tour packages to Japan. Over 400 victims have been duped by the scam so far.

Representatives for the group claimed to have purchased tour packages from a major company based in the central province of Pathum Thani, to resell them to their clients. However, they later discovered that the packages were entirely fraudulent.

The victims were enticed by the low cost of the packages and believed that the company was reputable, and subsequently invested a significant amount of money to obtain the best possible price. For instance, a five-day package was sold for approximately 21,000 baht, even though a round-trip ticket from Bangkok to Japan usually costs around 20,000 baht.

After reselling the packages to customers, the buyers learned that all of the booking documents were fake, which resulted in some companies having to arrange and pay for new packages to prevent customer complaints.

Thinnakorn Arwatthanakun, the manager of Solar Travel, disclosed that his company purchased 30 packages for customers who wished to travel to Japan between January 29 and February 2. Each tour package cost 21,899 baht, with a total amount transferred to the fraudulent company of 566,970 baht.

Thinnakorn contacted the company for the details of the trip but received only the name of the hotel. When he contacted the hotel, he found out that there were no bookings made.

The 54 year old tried to claim his money back but the company did not reply to his requests, so he had to rebook trips and pay for the hotels and flights at his own expense.

Thinnakorn believes that additional victims, both individuals and travel agencies, will approach the police to file complaints as the fraudulent company is still actively promoting and selling bogus packages.

He informed the Department of Tourism regarding the matter to revoke the company’s license, but the department claimed not to have received the complaint and advised him to initiate a lawsuit independently.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.