The currently mothballed Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel is suspected of having cheated 30 travel agencies by overselling hotel rooms to the tune of over HK$250 million, Macau Travel Industry Council President Andy Wu Keng Kuong said at a press conference on Monday.
The ad hoc group, loosely translated as Victims Group, consists of travel agencies from Macau, Hong Kong and the mainland, as well as some individuals, who had booked the guestrooms, according to Paul Wong Fai, the organiser of the group.
Asked by reporters what the government’s stance on the case was, Wu said: “We believe the government will help us, [we are] small- and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs].”
However, he also said the group would request the Public Prosecution Office (MP) to investigate, but not the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO), as the latter considered the case as a mere “business activity”.
Wu said that according to the contracts the victims signed with the hotel, he estimated that its management had promised to provide the members of his group with about 700,000 hotel rooms for HK$250 million from 2014 to this year.
Wu said that, however, according to MGTO data, only 599 rooms could be provided by the hotel daily.
“Even if they provided all the 599 rooms to us all 365 days a year, we don’t think they could fulfil all our bookings, which was altogether 700,000 hotel rooms,” Wu said.
Wong said the hotel management had never contacted them for discussion about repayment.
Pointing out that the group had arranged for the affected guests to stay in other hotels, Wong said that the additional expenditure had not been included in the HK$250 million.
After the press conference, the group reported the case to the Public Prosecutions Office. Wong also said the group would report the case to the Consumer Council (CC).
Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel, formerly known as New Century Hotel, is a five-star hotel which opened in 1992.
MGTO officials said in a statement on July 22 they decided to close down the hotel because it had failed to meet fire safety standards, such as blocked exits and an inadequate number of fire extinguishers, thereby “posing a threat to public safety” and “harming the image” of Macau’s tourism industry.
According to the statement, it was the first time that the government had decided to temporarily close down a five-star hotel in Macau.
According to the MGTO statement at that time, the hotel is to remain closed for at least six months, pending a solution to the issue.(Macau News / The Macau Post Daily)