‘Daruma Sushi’ owner rolled up on fraud charges

The owner of a Japanese restaurant chain was arrested this morning, just days after he abruptly closed the business and left the country, leaving customers with many unused, pre-paid vouchers.

Metha Chalingsuk, 42, was caught by the authorities at Suvarnabhumi Airport upon his return from a trip to the United States and Taiwan. The owner and director of Daruma Sushi was reported to have flown to Dubai last week just before the entire chain’s sudden closure caused an uproar.

He was taken into custody on charges of fraud and computer crimes for allegedly providing false information to customers.

This past weekend, Daruma Sushi suddenly closed all 27 of its restaurants. Many customers who had bought THB199 vouchers were unable to get refunds. Franchise owners were also left confused, and staff were out of a job.

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The case drew great attention for the many customers affected by what appeared to many to be a take-the-money-and-run scam.

The restaurant is believed to be responsible for over THB100 million in damages. National police commander Jirapob Phuridet said investigators would continue to question Metha and discuss the case at a news conference later today.

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