Suspect arrested in hotel booking scam which left tourists stranded

Maldives Police Service headquarters. (File Photo/Sun/Ihthisham Mohamed)

Maldivian authorities have made an arrest in a case involving over two dozen tourists who fell victim to a fake hotel booking scam. 

The tourists were tricked into believing they made bookings at a five-star hotel, but were left stranded in the streets when they arrived in Male’ City on Sunday night. 

Controller General of Immigration Mohamed Ahmed Hussain (Hanafy) said in a tweet that the suspect in the case, identified as a foreign national, was arrested in a joint operation by the police and Immigration at approximately 02:00 am on Monday. 

Hanafy said that the case involves 27 tourists, including women and children. 

They were left out in the street until approximately 01:00 am. 

Hanafy said they were assisted later by police, Immigration, Maldivian Red Crescent and well-wishers. 

He also thanked Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof and his spouse Nazra Naseem taking initiative to assist the stranded tourists. 

The tourists are currently being housed at the Football Association of Maldives (FAM)’s accommodation block. 

Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has issued a short statement on Twitter condemning the culprits behind the scam.  

“Keeping tourists in places illegally isn't tourism, its human trafficking. I am relieved to hear relevant authorities will investigate such incidents and take action,” he said.