Tour agency Asia-Euro Holidays in Chinatown closes suddenly

Asia-Euro Holidays staff were told to leave early last Friday. A note informing customers of the company's closure was then put up on the agency's door
Asia-Euro Holidays staff were told to leave early last Friday. A note informing customers of the company's closure was then put up on the agency's doorPHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM .

Tour agency believed to have run up losses of about $2m from property investments

The sudden closure of a tour agency in Chinatown Point has left its staff and customers in shock.

The staff of Asia-Euro Holidays were asked to leave work earlier than usual, at about 5.30pm, last Friday, Chinese evening newspaper Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.

A note was then put up on the company's front door to apologise for closing the business.

"We are sorry to inform you that Asia-Euro Holidays Pte Ltd has closed for business and (will) stop providing all services with immediate effect," the note said.

Customers whose passports are still with the company were told to contact an agent in charge of processing visa applications.

The tour agency also advised customers who have yet to go on their trips to make travel insurance claims if they have any, or to file a claim at the Small Claims Tribunal.

The same note was posted on the tour agency's Facebook page.

Lianhe Wanbao said at least 500 customers were affected by the agency's sudden closure.

Its spokesman, a certain Mr Chew, had told the Chinese daily that the company had to close as it had made huge losses in property investments amounting to about $2 million.

Mr Chew said the company had bought 14 properties in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in 2010.

But the company had been hit badly by the property cooling measures introduced three years ago, and was not able to reap profits from the investments. It resorted to borrowing money to stay afloat, he added.

The Consumers Association of Singapore has received six complaints against the company since 2012, Wanbao reported.

The visa agent, known only as Mr Lee, told The Sunday Times he was not aware of the full details, adding: "I am closer to the employees. Many of them have not been paid their salaries too."

Mr Lee, who declined to give his full name, said the tour agency was a family-run business. Besides the owner and his wife, the couple's daughter and son-in-law were also involved in the business.

"I had heard about the firm's financial difficulties, but I didn't know that they were going to close down," he said.

He added that he has seven passports belonging to clients of Asia-Euro Holidays and "they can contact me to take them back".

leepearl@sph.com.sg