Beware the menace of the hoax trade show or conference

Several Asian exhibitors have been left almost Rs2500,000 out of pocket after signing up to attend a hoax exhibition in Indonesia, the latest example of a spate of such fraudulent activities in the events market.

The 34 exhibitors, from Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, signed up to ASEAN Travel Mart (ATM) event and paid their exhibiting fees in good faith, before realising the show was a scam. One exhibitor said he arrived the day ahead of the event only to discover the venue that was supposed to host the show was under renovation.

Other victim exhibitors told Indonesian police that their suspicions were aroused when organisers Sampoerna Events pulled down the website the week before, and stopped returning their calls.

One of the exhibitors, Adri Rivai (director of sales and marketing of Royal Tulip Saranam in Bali), told TTG Asia: “The proposal sent looked professional and the way they promoted the show was also convincing. The organiser promised there would be around 80 sellers from Indonesia and twice the number of buyers from ASEAN countries.

“My suspicion came when they still had not sent the list of buyers last Friday and by Monday the website could not be accessed any longer and the phones could not be reached.”