Authorities have opened an investigation after a tourist party were duped by a travel agency into coming to the Maldives under the guise of a hotel reservation.
The tourist group consisted of 27 Indians, including children, who were stranded on the streets upon their arrival due to a lack of lodging until 1 a.m. on Monday. They have now been shifted to a Football Association of Maldives (FAM) accommodation facility in Hulhumale.
According to authorities, a foreigner was taken into custody by Maldives Immigration in connection with the scam during a special operation conducted by the Maldives Police Service and Maldives Immigration about 2 a.m. on Monday.
The public has lauded the efforts of Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof, Controller of Immigration Mohamed Ahmed Hussain, Maldivian Red Crescent volunteers, and State Minister at Youth Ministry Assad Ali in providing assistance to tourists who fell victim to the scam and were left helpless on the streets. A large number of local spectators also gave food and drink to the stranded tourists.
Tourism Minister Abdulla Mausoom has also expressed his alarm about the scam, referring to it as a form of human trafficking rather than tourism.