Koreans duped by ‘tour agency’ duo

JOHOR BARU: Their website caters to the Korean community, sharing tips about life in Malaysia and offering travel services.

The all-Korean site has a huge following exceeding 80,000 people.

Besides offering tour services and boat rentals mainly in Sabah, the couple who run the website would also help people book flight tickets.

But little did followers know that the couple – a Malaysian in his 20s and his Korean wife in her 30s – would take deposits for cheap flights back to South Korea during the Covid-19 pandemic and not provide tickets or refunds.

The couple, who set up a tour agency about three years ago, are believed to have used the money to splurge on themselves.

To date, almost 40 police reports have been lodged against the couple for allegedly being the masterminds of a flight ticket scam totaling more than RM2mil.

Most of the reports, lodged since last month, were made in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang.

The couple were arrested in Sabah several days ago.

They have since been remanded to assist in investigations.

Police have also seized some items from the couple.

Johor Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Asst Comm Amran Md Jusin, when contacted, confirmed the arrest.

Both suspects will be brought back to Johor for investigations under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.

He declined to elaborate further.

The South Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has asked its citizens to lodge police reports in Malaysia and South Korea.

An embassy official described the case as the biggest scam involving its nationals in Malaysia in recent years.

The Star previously reported that the victims were enticed with discounts for return flight tickets to South Korea as well as the promise of a full refund for those unable to board their flights should they test positive for Covid-19.

One of the victims, known as Kim, said many of them trusted the woman as she was one of the handlers from the website, which helps the Korean community in Malaysia.

“Koreans go to this website to find solutions to their daily problems or information about Malaysia,” she said.

Kim said she paid more than RM30,000 for three business class tickets for her husband, eight-year-old daughter and herself to South Korea next month but did not get the tickets despite having made payments in January.

Kim, who was told that she would not be getting a refund, has since lodged a police report.

She said they came to know about the ruse when 10 Koreans, who intended to leave for South Korea, ended up stranded at the KL International Airport despite being given electronic tickets on April 29.

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