Tourist Police yesterday revealed that a group of 55 Thai holidaymakers left stranded at Tokyo’s Narita Airport by a scamming travel agent had arrived back in Bangkok on Tuesday night after paying for tickets home out of their own pockets.
The victims booked a tour package to Japan with travel agency “Nutty Travel Around” (first warning flag!), which had advertised the deal on the LINE messaging app. They each paid THB28,000 (US$850) — that’s a total of 1.54 million (US$47,000) for 55 people — for the five-day trip to watch a MotoGP race and visit Mount Fuji over Oct. 19-23.
What they apparently got for their fees, however, appears to have been nothing but a one-way ticket to Tokyo.
After showing up at Narita, the group waited for more than 10 hours before finally realizing no tour operator was coming to collect them.
The specifics of what happened next are in short supply, but the group apparently decided to simply travel to Tokyo on their own and pick up their own expenses.
Getting home meant digging even deeper. They ultimately had to shell out about THB13,450 each (or about US$408) for return tickets.
After arriving at Don Mueang, the holidaymakers filed a complaint with Tourist Police against the phony tour agent, who has been identified as Nattakarn Dokpikul. Police are looking to arrest and charge her for fraud and operating an illegal travel agent.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Terapon Kuptanond, the acting chief of the Tourist Police Bureau, suggested that people check licenses of tour agents via the Department of Tourism’s website or 1155 hotline before paying for their trips.
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