'Umrah' travel agency reported to police for alleged fraud

'Umrah' travel agency reported to police for alleged fraud

Hundreds of people who had paid to go on umrah (minor Islamic pilgrimage) have reported travel agency PT Amanah Bersama Umat Abu Tours and Travel to the Surakarta Police on Saturday in Central Java, accusing the travel agent of defrauding them for failing to send them to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The customers hail from several areas in and around Surakarta, consisting of the city of Surakarta and the regencies of Boyolali, Karanganyar, Klaten, Sragen, Sukoharjo and Wonogiri.

Abu Tours and Travel had been reported earlier to the police by thousands of would-be pilgrims from several cities around Indonesia, including Majene in West Sulawesi, Makassar in South Sulawesi and Malang in East Java.

“As of today, 205 would-be pilgrims have reported [the travel agency]. They should have departed in January,” said First Insp. Sudarmiyanto of the Surakarta Police’s Criminal Investigation Unit.

Seeking justice: Customers who purchased 'umrah' pilgrimage packages from PT Amanah Bersama Umat Abu Tours and Travel report the travel agency to the Surakarta Police on Mar. 3. Seeking justice: Customers who purchased ‘umrah’ pilgrimage packages from PT Amanah Bersama Umat Abu Tours and Travel report the travel agency to the Surakarta Police on Mar. 3. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)

Sudarmiyanto said most of the victims had fully paid the umrah costs of Rp 16 million (US$1,163.20) per person. Abu Tours had given them a discount on the normal price of Rp 21 million per person.

“Such a large discount had lured many people to purchase the umrah pilgrimage [package] from Abu Tours. They were even willing to spend hours queuing at the agency’s office on Jl. Adi Sucipto in Karangasem, Surakarta, to get a seat on the umrah pilgrimage,” said Sudarmiyanto.

Sri Syamsiah, 48, said she and three members of her family should have departed in the middle of January. “[The trip] has been delayed three times and there is no certainty on whether we will depart. That’s why I filed a police report,” she said. (ebf)

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