Owner of the Daruma sushi restaurant chain in Thailand, Metha Chalingsuk, was apprehended at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport this morning (Wednesday) as he returned from a foreign trip.
Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej personally questioned the suspect at the airport, before taking him to the CIB head office.
Metha is facing consumer fraud and computer crime charges after police received hundreds of complaints from consumers, franchisees, suppliers and brokers who had either bought pre-paid buffet vouchers or were in the business of supplying the chain.
Metha flew to the United States last week, without notifying his employees, suppliers or customers in advance and with all 27 sushi outlets in Bangkok closed, including his pilot branch in Soi Udomsuk on Sukhumvit Road in Phra Khanong district. Many voucher holders were frustrated at finding them closed.
One franchisee said she paid 2.5 million baht to buy a franchise to open her restaurant selling the Daruma buffet. She added that the company sent her the supplies late before disappearing.
Daruma Sushi was established on January 12th, 2016 with five million baht registered capital. The company expanded into 27 outlets, most all of which are operated as franchisees.
Of late, the company had been running a promotional campaign offering buffet vouchers at 199 baht each, excluding VAT, on the condition that at least 5 vouchers were purchased. The price was said to be unrealistically low.