Police: Luxury cruise precedes bogus Japan trip

The advertisement of "Wealth Ever Co" on its apparently misspelled "Millioniar Party" cruise on the Chao Phraya River was an attempt to build credibility before a suspected pyramid scheme revealed itself, police said. (Crime Suppression Division photo)

A travel fraud suspect organised a Bangkok luxury cruise for 500 people on the Chao Phraya River, allegedly to boost her credibility just before leaving about 1,000 stranded at Suvarnabhumi airport on Tuesday in a suspected pyramid scheme.

Police sources said on Sunday that Pasist Arinchalapis, also known by a fortuneteller name as "Sin Sae Shogun", had successfully organised a number of activities for clients, the latest one of which was a luxury cruise called "Millioniar Party" on the White Orchid River Cruise boat on March 18. Officials suspected they were held to promote the credibility of her direct-sale network.

About 500 members of her network, who subscribed to sell her brand of food supplements, boarded the boat at the River City pier in Bangkok at 6pm. The boat departed at 7pm and returned at 10pm that night.

On board, Wealth Ever Co of Ms Pasist held a fancy costume contest for a 100,000-baht prize and organised lucky draws for expensive prizes including four iPhone 7 Plus phones with 256GB memory capacity and gold ornaments for the members.

During the trip, Ms Pasist invited members to join a tour to Japan and said if the trip was successful, she would take them to Taiwan and the Maldives later, police said.

About 1,000 people gathered at Suvarnabhumi airport on Tuesday night for the promised Japan trip on chartered flights only to realise it never existed.

Sin Sae Shogun and people close to her were arrested in Ranong province on the Myanmar border the following day. She and eight other suspects were in custody pending investigation.

Pol Maj Gen Suthin Sapphuang, commander of the Crime Suppression Division, said on Sunday that about 300 people filed complaints with police about Sin Sae Shogun's "business" and police would seek arrest warrants for more suspects.

Wealth Ever Co, Ms Pasist's company, claimed to sell food supplements and offered free tours in return for members who each ordered "products" worth 9,700-20,000 baht, in addition to commission fees for recruiting new members.

Many of her clients told reporters that they had been attracted by the Japan tour offer.

Police believe the network recruited thousands of members nationwide and cheated people out of tens of millions of baht in total.

Ms Pasist Arinchalapis, alias Sin Sae Shogun, is seen on her way to the Central Women Correctional Institution in Bangkok on Friday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

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