Domestic workers in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times

The co-owner of Peya Travel Agency has said there was no intention to fool people when a booking problem led to hundreds of Filipino domestic workers getting stranded in Hong Kong in late December.

Rhea Donna Boyce told sunwebhk.com in an interview on December 22 that there was no malice intended and there was an internal problem regarding the booking. “The person in charge of monitoring the bookings failed to see that the tickets were not issued,” she said.

Several hundred Filipino domestic workers were unable to board their flights to the Philippines because their tickets had not been paid for by the agency.

Boyce was arrested on December 25 by Hong Kong police for suspected fraud and was released on police bail two days later. Her husband, also a co-owner of Peya Travel, was arrested on December 27. The interview was published on Wednesday.

Boyce said she needed to sort out her company’s finances and had closed its North Point branch pending refunds to the affected clients. “I will pay them back, but maybe in groups of 30 first,” she said.

Benny Hui, owner of AGC Travel and a wholesaler of Philippine Airlines tickets, said he had suspected that Peya Travel was having financial problems, sunwebhk.com reported.

Hui said that before the incident, Boyce made an urgent request for six plane tickets for her clients to return to the Philippines on December 16. He sent her the tickets, which cost HK$21,000 (US$2,685), but has not yet been repaid.

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