KUALA LUMPUR - A 30-year-old photographer was cheated by a close friend of RM4,000 (S$1,500) after being promised a package tour to Japan.
To make matters worse, Jessie Leong had gathered 14 of her family members and friends to join her on the trip and they collectively paid RM60,000 to her friend who works as a freelance travel agent.
Leong grabbed the offer as RM4,000 covers a seven-day five-night excursion inclusive of flight ticket, food, ground transportation and accommodation.
The friend even promised to charter a van for Leong and her group to the airport, but the van never arrived. Leong and her group made their way to the airport on April 2 but were told by Malaysia Airlines that there was no such group booking to Japan.
At the airport, Leong also realised there was another group of 15 people there who had also been duped by her friend. The friend then texted one of the victims and told her to make a police report.
Housewife Chong Yoke Kam, 49, who received the text did just that.
Leong said she could not believe her friend of seven years would cheat her.
"Three days before the trip, we even went out to the mall for shopping and karaoke. We spoke excitedly about the trip. She showed me the itinerary and I trusted her," Leong said at a press conference here yesterday.
MCA public services and complaints department chief Datuk Seri Michael Chong said the department received 15 similar complaints since 2012 involving losses of RM200,000.
He advised the public to conduct due diligence when signing up for travel packages.
"Go for established and reliable travel agencies. Do not simply buy because of the cheap price," he said.