Woman 'defrauded friends' over fake tour packages

The holidays, which cost less than the market average, were never delivered, with victims losing over 200,000 yuan (US$30,000), police said.

A 41-year-old woman has been arrested for allegedly defrauding her friends by offering them fake tour packages, police said on Wednesday.

The suspect, surnamed Pan, who is a Shanghainese, told police she needed money to cover her debt after her restaurant business failed. She is alleged to have taken over 200,000 yuan (US$30,000) on false premises.

A woman surnamed Gu, who said she first got to know Pan 10 years ago, was one of the victims.

Gu told Shanghai Daily that she and seven others paid 20,800 yuan to Pan in August after she offered them a seven-day tour to Thailand at the price of 2,600 yuan each. The price was lower than the market average.

“Our flight was supposed to be on August 10, but the day before she told me that the tour had to be postponed because a few more people had to be added to our group,” she said. After that Gu said Pan could not be contacted.

Gu added she paid Pan 300 yuan for a two-day tour to Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang Province in July and had enjoyed it, so she didn’t think twice about paying for the tour to Thailand.

Including Gu, from June last year to August this year, a total of six people who were either Pan’s friends or her relatives were allegedly defrauded with fake tour packages, and they lost up to 49,555 yuan.

Pan was caught in Taizhou city, Jiangsu Province, in September, police said.

Wang Bo, an officer at Shuyuan police station, Pudong, who was in charge of the case, said Pan claimed at first that she had handed over the money to tourist agencies and was seeking refunds, but investigation showed that she was lying, Wang said.

Pan had nothing to do with any tourist agency, he added.

She has been jobless for a few years, had a gambling history and now faces accusations of being involved in frauds totaling over 1 million yuan, with over 50 identified victims affected, police said.

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