French court issues travel warning to agencies
PARIS, June 7, 2006 (AFP) - A French travel agency was ordered Wednesday to pay more than a million euros in damages to three tourists who were abducted by a Philippine kidnap gang during a diving holiday.
Stéphane Loisy, his partner Sonia Wendling and Marie Moarbes were among 21 people seized by the Abu Sayyaf guerrilla group in the Malaysian diving resort of Sipadan in April 2000.
They were held captive for more than four months in Jolo island in the southern Philippines, the stronghold of the rebel group blamed for a spate of kidnappings, murders and bomb attacks over the past decade.
Ultramarina, the specialist travel agency which organised their trip, was ordered to pay EUR 350,000 each in damages to Loisy and Moarbes, and EUR 300,000 to Wendling.
The court ruled that the company had failed in its duty to monitor the risks in the region — and should have realised the Western tourists would act as a magnet for the kidnap gang.
Ultramarina was ordered to pay Moarbes EUR 10,000 for the loss of jewelry and computer equipment, as well as EUR 24,000 to cover the plaintiffs’ legal costs and EUR 130,000 to the French fund for the victims of terrorism.
Subject: French news