A Chinese tourist on a Southeast Asia trip with his wife has accused a tour guide of damaging his passport because he did not spend enough money in Thailand.
The man, who used the pseudonym Li Zhonghai, returned to China after he was not allowed on a flight from Thailand to Singapore last Thursday because the first page in his passport had a small slit, West China City Daily reported.
Li had booked a 10-day package holiday with his wife to Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia from March 18 with a travel agency in Meishan, Sichuan province.
They could not continue their travel because of the damaged passport so bought return tickets to Chengdu that cost 5,650 yuan, the report said. It did not mention how he was able to board a flight home with the damaged document.
The slit, only 1cm long, ruined the electronic element of the passport, Li said.
Li blamed the tour guide for damaging his passport as revenge for spending too little in Thailand. The guide had collected the passports of the complete tour group.
Li told the newspaper he and his wife only spent 180 yuan on food recommended by the guide and had not bought anything in the stores the guide took them to. The group was told their spending was the worst the guide had experienced.
There have been many complaints of Chinese travellers on cheap package tours being harangued by tour guides to spend money at the stops they make.
The travel agency agreed to pay the return airfares for the couple but did not admit the guide had damaged the passport. The elderly couple could have done that themselves without realising, a staff member at the agency said.