DUBAI // A travel agent has been accused of selling fake plane tickets to Indian businessmen, families and labourers. At least 12 people said they were tricked into buying the bogus tickets. Police yesterday confirmed they had received numerous complaints from people who arrived at the airport with what they thought was confirmation of a flight home, only to discover the paperwork had been fabricated.
When they arrived at the travel agency, which is in Bur Dubai but cannot be named as the allegations have not been proved, the shutters were down. Police are now looking for the owner of the travel agency, who had advertised his business as being able to secure cheaper flights to India. More victims are expected to come forward. Sameer T, 27, who works at a private company in Dubai, said yesterday he had filed a police complaint against the agent.
"I booked a return ticket to Trivandrum, India, two weeks ago," he said. "They gave me a receipt, but I never got my tickets. They did not answer my phone calls and when I finally reached the office, I realised that it was shut down." Sameer said people who worked at the agency told him the manager had fled with the money and advised him to contact police. He had paid more than Dh2,000 (US$544) for the ticket.
Several other families also turned up at the airport with their booking slips, only to be told there were no seats booked in their names and they could not travel, he said. "People who planned summer travels have all lost their money," he said. A spokesman for Al Rifaa police station, where the cases were filed, said: "This is a known case and there are many people affected. We know that more than 12 people have been scammed by the Indian man.
"He stole a large amount of money from people and left. We have not caught him yet. There is a warrant out for his arrest and we know he is still in the country. He has not fled." An average return ticket from Dubai to India costs about Dh2,000. Neither the travel agency nor its sponsor in Dubai could be contacted for comment. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org