An individual in Singapore has been convicted for carrying out the business of a travel agent without a valid licence.
A total of 27 charges were brought against Bambi Kee Kim Noi, who was fined a total of S$7,500 (US$5,702) in default of 25 days’ imprisonment for five such charges. The remaining 22 charges were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.
Kee was also charged and convicted for a related offence under the Penal Code, and sentenced to 12 months in prison for criminal breach of trust by her misappropriating monies entrusted to her by consumers as an agent.
Under the amended Travel Agents Act that took effect on January 1, 2018, any person found guilty of carrying on the business of a travel agent without a valid travel agent licence faces a maximum fine of S$25,000 – an increase from S$10,000 – and/or imprisonment of up to two years.
Investigations revealed that Kee started her unlicensed travel agent activities in 2012, when she had claimed to be a freelance travel agent and sold air tickets and hotel accommodation vouchers. In early 2013, Kee ran into financial difficulties but continued to take on consumer transactions without fulfilling them, thereby affecting 16 consumers who then lodged police reports.
In a statement, the Singapore Tourism Board said it “takes a serious view against those who engage in unlicensed travel agent activities” and will take action against them to protect consumer interests and uphold the destination’s reputation.