Hong Kong travel agency involved in bus crash accused of making false insurance statement

Tour’s leaflets reportedly made claims about cover it was not eligible for

Hong Kong travel agency involved in bus crash accused of making false insurance statement

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Hong Kong travel agency that ran the ill-fated Guangdong tour, which ended in a bus crash resulting in two deaths, is suspected of making a false insurance statement.

If found guilty, the Big Line Holiday travel agency could face expulsion from the Travel Industry Council (TIC), an official of the council said.

Joseph Tung Yao-chung, executive director of TIC, said that Big Line’s agenda leaflets for the one-day tour’s participants allegedly violated the Travel Agents Ordinance by claiming that the tour was covered by the Package Tour Accident Contingency Fund Scheme, even though it did not qualify for that particular scheme.

According to Tung, to qualify for the insurance scheme, a tour must satisfy two of three conditions: (a) the tour begins in Hong Kong; (b) it includes accommodation outside the city; or (c) it includes activities outside the city.

Tung said that the tour met only the third requirement, as it reportedly asked the participants to meet in Shenzhen to begin the trip.

“It does look like there were apparently false statements on the leaflets,” Tung was quoted by the South China Morning Post. “But we need to understand why.”

Tung gave Big Line 14 working days to submit an official explanation before the Council decides on the penalty. The travel agency’s membership in the TIC could be revoked, and even its licence to operate could be affected.

The accident happened on Monday night, when the bus slammed into a stationary vehicle on Qianhaichong Grand Bridge in Guangzhou. According to the Hong Kong Immigration Department, 43 out of the 44 passengers were Hong Kong residents, as well as both fatalities – one man and one woman, both in their sixties.

Big Line chairwoman Chan Yin-ping said on a commercial radio programme on Wednesday that the company is looking into why such statements were made on the tour leaflets.

“We are deeply regretful about the incident,” Chan said. “We need to first handle all the injuries and provide help.”

Related stories:
Man who miraculously survived crash may have difficulty claiming insurance
Regulator sides with insurer after bus crash fiasco
After fatal crash, Taiwan government stresses value of travel insurance

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