Blatrip pair arrested over online travel scam

The two are accused of swindling customers out of almost US$30 million.

Two employees of online travel company Blatrip have been arrested for fraud over accusations that customers were swindled out of 180 million yuan (US$28 million) in prepaid booking fees, the Pudong New Area People's Procuratorate said on Tuesday.

The unlicensed travel operator provided flight and hotel packages at abnormally low prices. But it required customers to pay before their trips were confirmed. Consumers complained their bookings were often unsuccessful.

The pair, surnamed Xu and Zhong, oversold tourism products priced lower than the prices on WeChat, Weibo and App even if they were aware that the company could not fulfill the bookings, the prosecutors said.

And the company was in debt, it said.

The pair was arrested for contract scam and swindling 36.32 million yuan from suppliers, according to the prosecutors.

The Shanghai Consumer Council received more than 1,000 complaints over Blatrip.

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