Tour Agency Owner Charged for Selling False Plane Tickets

A tour agency owner whose apparently fraudulent airline ticket sales brought an angry mob to her office on Monday night was jailed and charged with breach of trust on Thursday, according to a court official.

Ros Sophyrath, 36, owner of Srey Rath International Travel and Tours, was charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for misappropriating an estimated $250,000 from the agency’s customers, said Y Rin, a court spokesman.

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The storefront of Srey Rath International Travel and Tours in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district on Thursday (Emil Kastrup/The Cambodia Daily)

Kor Vandy, the investigating judge, ordered Ms. Sophyrath’s imprisonment until her trial, Mr. Rin said.

If convicted, Ms. Sophyrath—who was misidentified by military police earlier this week as Ros Sreyrath, 35—faces a fine of $250 to $1,500 and between six months and three years in prison.

District military police officers arrested Ms. Sophyrath at her office in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district on Monday at about 8 p.m. after a crowd of about 30 people descended upon the agency, demanding refunds for false airline tickets they claimed to have been sold.

According to a report from the National Military Police website, 92 people came to file complaints at the military police headquarters while Ms. Sophyrath was detained.

It is still unclear what Ms. Sophyrath or her employees at the agency have done with customers’ money, but, according to the report, Ms. Sophyrath blamed her staff for selling fake plane tickets without her knowledge.

Sang Kimsear, 50, said he had discovered that his bookings made with Srey Rath were useless just a day before he was due to travel to Hong Kong in December on a family trip.

Mr. Kimsear had bought 14 roundtrip plane tickets from Phnom Penh to Hong Kong with Srey Rath for $4,000. He ended up spending another $5,000 to book 14 new tickets in order to catch a connecting bus in Hong Kong to mainland China, he said.

“I needed to continue on to China,” Mr. Kimsear said. “I had already booked everything.”

Ms. Sophyrath promised to repay Mr. Kimsear for the fraudulent tickets, but the check she gave him bounced, he said.

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