A woman who is at the center of an alleged tour scam has maintained her innocence, saying she operated an online business, not a tour company.
Pasit Ariyalapit, who is known as Shogun, was speaking to reporters after being arrested in Ranong province and brought to Bangkok to face charges of fraud.
She insisted she had changed her name and surname 10 times in the belief that would bring her luck, not to avoid being prosecuted.
“I have run an online business and I brought customers to Osaka and Hong Kong as part of a promotional campaign,” she said. What happened at Suvarnabhumi Airport on April 12, was not her fault, but an uncontrollable situation, she said.
Hundreds of people were left stranded at the airport after discovering that no flights were booked for them. They claimed Pasit’s company lured them into paying between Bt9,000 to Bt20,000 for a trip to Japan. The price is relatively low compared to a normal ticket.
They said they were told they would go to Japan by chartered flight.
Pasit on Thursday claimed that her investor in Hong Kong had already booked the flight and had seat numbers for everyone. But she said she learned recently that the chartered flight had to be booked three or four months in advance.
She said that under the promotion, customers who bought a lot of her products were awarded an overseas trip. “The trip that was very popular was a free trip of 40 people in February to Osaka. They paid only Bt500 as an application fee.”
The February trip was successful and customers told their friends, which led to another trip of 200 people to Osaka.
She said the problem occurred at the airport on April 12 because customers invited too many people, making it difficult to check and control the number.
Asked about a possible refund, Pasit said they would be looking into compensation and disappointed customers would have to show evidence of their payment.