The final part of the Zenith Travel scam series of articles. — John.
By John Power
A travel agent who scammed some 65 foreign customers out of more than 170 million won ($147,000) was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison at Seoul Eastern District Court on Tuesday.
Kang Wan-koo, who also goes by “Wystan,” was also fined an undisclosed amount of several million won.
Kang took millions of won from customers for non-existent flights through his company Zenith Travel, often claiming the bookings had been accidentally cancelled. Many of his victims only discovered they had no booking when they arrived at the airport to take their flight. Kang also embezzled some 60 million won in travel certificates allocated to him by an unnamed travel agency.
Kang was first arrested last October, almost nine weeks after the initial police complaint, but was released shortly after. He then continued his scam with a new company, Travel Expert, under the alias Joseph Kim. Kang was arrested again and indicted in mid-February, five weeks after The Korea Herald reported on Travel Expert.
The presiding judge, surnamed Lee, said that while Kang had no previous criminal record, his crimes were extremely serious. Lee noted that Kang had ruined a wedding ceremony, family gathering and honeymoon, causing great distress to his victims.
He added that he did not believe Kang regretted his crimes, despite him apologizing in court. The prosecution had requested a four-year prison sentence. Kang has seven days to appeal.