Football tour scammers steal B30m

Football tour scammers steal B30m

At least 30 million baht is believed to have been swindled from 10 people who booked a fake package tour to see a football match in England, according to police.

Deputy national police chief Surachate Hakparn said several victims were in dire financial straits after taking out their life savings to pay for the tour.

Pol Gen Surachate said the tour organiser had been arrested, but it was unclear how the 30 million baht could be recouped to pay back the victims. He said similar scams involving bogus travel trips have been rampant since the reopening of borders after the pandemic.

Pallop Chuniam is among the victims who sought help from the deputy national police on Monday.

Mr Pallop told Pol Gen Surachate he and other victims had booked and paid for a package tour to attend a football match between the Liverpool and Arsenal teams. However, they discovered the trip was a hoax, and their attempt to obtain a refund was unsuccessful.

Mr Pallop said the tour was advertised on a YouTube channel with celebrities employed as presenters of the so-called “Happy Trips” to make it look reputable.

“I was cheated out of 450,000 baht. Other victims paid varying amounts for the fraudulent tour,” he said.

He identified the tour organiser as “Mr Suksan”, whom he became acquainted with through contact via the YouTube channel.

Surachate: Such fraud is rife

Mr Pallop said he was attracted to the promotional campaign offered by the channel, where he and three others could travel on the same trip for the price of three. However, they had to pay in advance in full, which he did.

He sent the money to the tour organiser in November last year, and the tour was supposed to have taken place from April 6-13.

As the date approached, he did not hear from the tour organiser. It was not until after the travel date had passed that the victims demanded a full refund. Mr Pallop said that although he could maintain communication with the tour organiser via a Line Chat app, the organiser refused to refund him.