–BANGKOK – Hundreds of Thai passengers who thought they had snapped up a bargain tour to Japan were stranded at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Tuesday night.
The employees of a company that promised them a trip to Japan during the Songkran Festival did not show up.
The company has also taken down its Facebook page.
Police said nearly 300 people have made complaints at Suvarnabhumi Airport’s police station.
Complainants said they paid fees, ranging from 15,000 to 20,000 baht ($600 to $800), to a purported travel agent, Wealth Ever, for a trip to Japan between April 13 and 15.
One victim who bought 10 tour packages had paid the company 88,200 baht, the Bangkok Post reported.
The airport was already crowded with Thais going out of the country during the Songkran holiday, and police had to help with crowd control.
Some people left after filing police reports but there were others who stayed behind as they lacked transport to return home during the Songkran break.
Crime Suppression Division police said on Wednesday that Ms. Pasit Arinchalatis an executive of WealthEver was arrested in Rayong while she and her family were escaping after allegedly deceiving customers into paying for a non-existent Japan trip.
Ms Pasit faces a fraud charge and more could be added later, the CSD chief said.
Pol Lt Gen Thitirach said the police planned to ask the Anti-Money Laundering Officer to confiscate her assets and sell them to repay the tourists.
WealthEver, which claimed to sell food supplements, used trips to Japan to solicit members. Membership fees start at 500 baht and an 8,380-baht upgrade to another level comes with a free trip to Japan and two bottles of the supplements.
The members also can collect more points by selling the products to other people.
Police suspected it was a pyramid scam.