The office of Peya Travel in Central. Photo: Asia Times

Hundreds of Filipinos working in Hong Kong who could not go home for Christmas or had to pay premiums for air-tickets are seeking refunds from a travel agency that failed to book tickets for them.

Around 30 domestic workers complained to the police this week, and the license of Peya Travel, which sold the maids unconfirmed tickets to the Philippines, has been revoked by the Travel Agents Registry.

Stranded maids wait outside Peya Travel’s office in Central.

The Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong has also suspended the agency’s membership, Apple Daily reports. But a council spokesman said the director of the agency had “gone missing” on Thursday afternoon.

It appears that Peya Travel, which specialized in providing air tickets to domestic helpers, failed to make due payments for seats on Philippines-bound flights, leading to cancellations of pre-booked tickets by airlines.

Other than issuing an apology on its Facebook account, the agency has ceased operations, and repeated phone calls to its inquiry hotline went unanswered.

In its statement posted on Thursday, the agency promised to bear all responsibility for the fiasco, but came short of guaranteeing any refunds.

“We are deeply saddened by the unfortunate event caused by the system. We appeal for understanding and sobriety, as this was unforeseen and beyond our control,” the agency said, stressing that it had enjoyed the trust of thousands of Filipinos in Hong Kong over the seven years of its existence.

It has requested that those who purchased tickets to forward via private messaging a clear copy of their receipt and itinerary for proper handling.

Hundreds of maids gathered outside its cubicle office inside the Worldwide House in Central in recent days, hoping to get refunds or rescheduling of their flights, just two days before Christmas Eve.

A statement from the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong on Thursday urged affected workers to report to its Assistance to Nationals Section.

The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong has expressed grave concern over the ticketing fiasco, warning Filipinos against buying air tickets through unreliable intermediaries.