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Crime in Hong Kong

Two Hong Kong travel agency directors who left hundreds in limbo are arrested for second time

Action Travel Services bosses held by customs officers after initial arrest by police on Wednesday

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 March, 2018, 11:44am

Two directors of a Hong Kong travel agency that left hundreds of holidaymakers in limbo following its abrupt closure were on Friday arrested by customs officers for violating the trade descriptions law.

Wong Tsz-kin, 46, and Titania Ho Yuen-yee, 54, from Action Travel Services, were picked up by customs officers outside Kowloon City police station at about 1am.

Their detention came just two days after they were arrested separately by police officers for fraud. They had only just left Kowloon City police station on bail early on Friday morning after the first arrest when the pair were apprehended for a second time, on this occasion by customs officials.

Without revealing the name of the travel agency or directors, Lau Yuk-lung, assistant superintendent for the Customs and Excise Department’s unfair trade practices investigation unit, on Friday said the pair were arrested on suspicion of failing to provide relevant services after having accepted payment from consumers under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.

“The company was suspected to have widely promoted travel packages with discounted prices and accepted payment about a month before its closure,” Lau said.

“This is in violation of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance under the section concerning wrongly accepting payment.”

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The offence carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a HK$500,000 (US$63,700) fine.

The customs department has received more than 50 complaints about the travel agency from affected holidaymakers, with the amount involved totalling nearly HK$1 million.

Lau said further arrests might be made as the investigation continued.

The two suspects would likely be released on bail on Friday night pending further investigations, he added.

According to company registry records, the agency, founded in 2006, had three directors: Wong, Ho and Ho Ka-nang.

The Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong said the firm had contacted the watchdog on Tuesday afternoon to say it planned to close the business due to financial issues.

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Crime-squad officers from the Kowloon West regional crime unit arrested the two directors for fraud on Wednesday after customers filed complaints with police on Tuesday night.

A notice posted outside the agency’s office said the company had faced operational difficulties and its board had been unable to operate normally. It would cease all business from Tuesday, it said.

The company added that all inquiries should be referred to the council, and that it “deeply regretted” the inconvenience caused to customers.