There have been quite a few travel scams from/to Thailand over the past 12 months. Some have offered “zero dollar” tours to Chinese where passengers have been highly pressured to purchase overpriced stuff once in the country or threatened to be left behind.
Now, two thousand Thais that were supposedly having tickets to visit Japan during the Songkran festival have been stranded at the Bangkok airport because tickets didn’t exist (pyramid scheme).
Here’s an excerpt from the Bangkok Post (access here) about the pyramid scheme:
Ms Pasit, also known as “Shogun”, faces fraud charges over holiday packages to Japan sold online for travel during Songkran.
The interrogation continued later on Thursday. The WealthEver boss faces fraud charges for allegedly deceiving 2,000 tourists who paid for return trips to Japan.
They were left stranded at Suvarnabhumi airport on Tuesday night, after discovering on arrival there that no charter flight had been arranged for them as promised. Another group was supposed to leave on Wednesday, but it was also canceled.
And here’s an excerpt from Reuters (access here) about the “zero dollar” tours:
A Thai crackdown on cheap tour packages for Chinese tourists has hit arrivals in Thailand during China’s peak “Golden Week” holiday, and dimmed prospects for an important sector in a sluggish economy.
The tours involve Chinese visitors paying Thai-based operators low prices for their package holiday.
But once in Thailand, they are often pressured into buying overpriced food, accommodation and gifts, said industry experts.
Police Major General Surachate Hakparn, commander of the Tourist Police Division, said police had shut three companies operating “zero dollar” tours and had seized 2,155 tour buses.
When something appears to be too good to be true, it usually is.
The crackdown on the “zero dollar” tours marketed to Chinese actually had an impact on the number of incoming tourists from China. I believe that it was right thing to do to end these “tours”. Forcing passengers to purchase overpriced stuff once inside Thailand or threatening to leave them behind?
Not sure how these Thais were lead to believe that they could have a tour of Japan for 10K bath or so. Better to find that this was a scam rather than being stranded in Japan.