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Friday, June 10, 2011

Holiday scam leaves 103 stranded

GEORGE TOWN: A group of 103 holidaymakers bound for Sabah was stranded at the Penang International Airport here last night, after falling victim to a scam. 

The holidaymakers from as far as Alor Star claimed they had paid thousands of ringgit for the four-day, three-night trip to Kota Kinabalu last month, and were told to gather at the airport at 6pm for the flight. 

However, they were shocked to discover that their agents did not turn up and the flight was non-existent. Fazirah Ghazali, who coordinated the trip, said they were victims of a scam by a man who claimed to be an airline employee. 

"The trip was supposed to be arranged by a man I knew through a friend. I collected RM36,000 from our members for the tickets and deposited it into his bank account last month."

Fazirah said she came to the airport at 3.30pm and found out that they were not on the AirAsia passengers' list and that there was no 8pm flight to Sabah.

The group also discovered that the hotel booking confirmation slip was merely a Web page that was downloaded, printed and distributed to some of the passengers.

Aminah Abdullah, 68, said she had initial doubts about the validity of the travel arrangements.

"When I arrived, I saw that my name was not on the passengers' list which was displayed on the system.

"There was only one flight for Sabah, but it was in the morning."

For friends Rabiah Cik Den, 74, and Cik Tom Madun, 75, they were disappointed as they were due to celebrate Rabiah's birthday today.

"I wanted to celebrate it in Sabah, but now it looks like I'll be spending it here after all," Rabiah said. - NST

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