Hong Kong industry regulators have suspended the business license of a travel agency that sold invalid air tickets to hundreds of Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong, but whether the victims will be able to fly back home to spend the Christmas holidays with their loved ones remains in question.
The Travel Agents Registry, which supervises travel agents in the city, said on Wednesday it has suspended the business license of Peya Travel, Apple Daily reports.
A source told the newspaper the license will not be reinstated unless the company promptly settles its obligations with the affected maids either by booking other flights for them or returning their payments.
Peya Travel, which specialized in selling cheap air tickets to Filipino maids, has reportedly fallen into financial distress due to “turnover of capital” problems, and failed to fulfill its obligations to clients as a result.
Many Filipino maids who had bought tickets from the agent were told by airline companies after arriving at the airport that their tickets were invalid because the travel agency did not remit the buyers’ payments.
More than 70 Filipino maids also swarmed Peya Travel’s office on the third floor of World-Wide House in Central on Wednesday, demanding a refund, but the office had stopped operating.
During the day, about 30 of them jointly filed a report with the Central Police Station, and was told that the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, which has suspended Peya Travel’s membership, would try to help them deal with the situation.
The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong said it is deeply concerned about the incident, urging Peya Travel to come up with a solution as soon as possible while calling on Filipino maids not to buy air tickets from the agent.
Alice Chan, deputy executive director of the council, said that as of Wednesday afternoon it had received more than 60 complaints related to the incident, adding that she was told Peya Travel’s owner promised to announce a refunding plan.
Meanwhile, TNG Wallet, a popular e-wallet service provider in the city, said it will offer 500 of the victims HK$1,000 each to help them buy new tickets. They can claim the money using the TNG Wallet from Thursday to Sunday by showing their original receipt and flight booking details from Peya Travel, at its store in World-Wide House in Central on a first-come, first-served basis.
Some Filipino maids have reportedly bought new tickets at a price twice as much as that they had paid for so that they can still make it home for Christmas.
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