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Police to interview more victims of PEYA booking fiasco

27 April 2018

Scene at PEYA'S shop in Worldwife Plaza at the height of the booking fiasco in December last year

By Vir B. Lumicao

More victims of last year’s PEYA Travel airline booking fiasco will be interviewed by the Hong Kong police this Sunday, Apr 29, in a bid to hasten their investigation of the case, a Consulate official said.
ATN head, Consul Paulo Saret

Consul Paulo Saret, head of the assistance to nationals section, told The SUN in a telephone conversation that about 20 complainants will be interviewed at the Wanchai police station.

He had offered to have the interview done at the Consulate to speed up the process, but the police declined due to their longstanding policy of not taking their records out of the police station.

“There’ll be 20 or so complainants whom we will accompany to the Regional Crime Unit on Sunday for the interview,” Saret said.

Saret said investigators told him they must have at least 250 statements from the victims to evaluate before deciding if they should file a deception case against Peya’s executives. But they have not given a timeframe for filing, he said. 

In an interview earlier he said fewer than 200 of the 1,200 Filipinos who had complained of getting bogus bookings from the travel agency had been interviewed by the police. He urged the other complainants to step forward to help the police speed up their investigation.

The police had reportedly told Saret that many of those on the list provided by the Consulate either did not answer phone calls or failed to show up for their scheduled interviews

Saret had contacted the police for an update on the case, amid online queries from complainants on how the case was progressing.

“Tanong ko lang po mga madam/sir tungkol sa refund ng PEYA Travel agency, kasi hanggang ngayon e wala pa po kayong update,” a certain Emie Lee asked.

Police are still looking for Grospe
Commenter Ladyjoy Magna Quina replied that the victims should go to the police to file their statements so that the case would move forward. But others blamed the Consulate for not informing them of the need to go to the police.

According to Saret, Another hindrance cited by the police was the disappearance of PEYA marketing manager Arnold Grospe, who they also want to investigate. Grospe is reported to have fled to Macau in the wake of the booking fiasco, and was reportedly spotted afterwards in Baguio City in the Philippines.

Grospe was invited to the Central Police Station on the evening of Dec 20, when the booking mess unraveled, as hundreds of Philippines-bound were not allowed to board their flights by airline staff who said PEYA did not pay for their tickets.

PEYA owner Peter Brian Boyce was arrested Dec 27, two days after his wife and co-owner Rhea Donna Bayona-Boyce, or Yanyan, who also acted as general manager, was taken by police from their Wanchai flat.

Police said the couple was being investigated for possibly defrauding customers of some $2 million in bogus airline bookings. On Apr 23, the Police Public Relations Bureau told The SUN that the couple was ordered to report again to the police in early May.

Saret said PEYA victims still trickle into ATN to file complaints, adding they are likely those who had bought replacement tickets on their own, and only recently learned they could still recover their loss with help from the Consulate.

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