More than 100 foreign tourists were scammed by a visa agency that operated under different guise but in concert on the tropical island of Phuket in Thailand. The amount of total damage caused by scammers to their clients, in ruble terms, amounted to at least several hundred thousand, The Thaiger reported. Note that with a high degree of probability, Russians were among the victims, since Phuket is their favorite place both for recreation and for remote work.
According to available information, we are talking about at least two visa agencies – Asia Titan Group ATG and Phuket Siam Corporation Service. It was they who were called by the victims, telling tearful stories about the money given for the extension of the visa. Later, the travelers learned that the agencies fled with the money, and the visas were not renewed.
The publication noted the slowness of the police, supporting the post of the non-profit organization Help Crime Victim Club, which on Sunday published information criticizing the sluggishness of the Phuket police in trying to catch the scammers. “Where were the Phuket police? Foreign tourists filed complaints, but you simply ignored them. You never move your ass if the media doesn't cover it, right?” the message said.
On the Facebook page (banned in the Russian Federation), it turned out that the company offered an extended visa service for foreigners in Phuket. Employees kept the passports of these tourists and collected money for a service not yet rendered. However, after three months of waiting, some foreigners asked to return their documents, suspecting something was wrong. It immediately became clear that the agency did not deal with their visas at all. In addition, some travelers were not even given their passports back because the agency staff went into hiding.
The Island Crime Victim Assistance Club reported that the status of all foreigners in the group indicated that their stay had expired. Tourists who stay less than 90 days are lucky and can still extend their visa on their own. But there were also those whose documents lay without renewal for more than three months. They admitted that they were afraid to report to the police because of the risk of deportation.
On June 28, the battered met and filed a class-action lawsuit against the fraudulent activities of visa agencies. During the meeting, it turned out that they were not the only foreigners who were deceived. Other victims, likely Russians, have reported similar stories of visa fraud from all over Thailand.
Police chief Mueng Phuket told the media that they are investigating the case. He said that more than one visa agency is involved in this case, and if there is sufficient evidence that the agencies deliberately swindled money from foreigners, these firms will be charged with fraud.
At the moment, all foreign tourists -Deal with the issue of extending the residence permit in the country. To do this, they were advised to contact the immigration office without fear of being arrested.
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