No progress in bankrupt Thai-listed California WOW fitness club case; “The proceedings have been slow and cannot catch up with fraud, deception and swindles of business operators.”

No progress in CAWOW case

Published: 1 Apr 2013 at 11.54


A group of 639 members of the bankrupt California WOW (CAWOW) health club gathered on Sunday to decide on their next move, complaining that authorities have made no progress in helping settle their grievances.The Foundation for Consumers organised a seminar in Bangkok to discuss possible solutions for CAWOW clients who filed petitions to the Office of the Consumer Protection Board, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Consumer Protection Police Division over six months ago.

The embattled health club members demanded compensation and wanted the authorities to take both civil and criminal action against the company after it failed to provide services agreed upon and went into bankruptcy.

Yaowapa Jamrassomboon, a representative of the disgruntled CAWOW customers, said the group had filed fraud charges against CAWOW but authorities had not done anything after six months.

“Consumer rights as stipulated by the law state that we have the right to complain and receive compensation, but until now this has not been happening. The proceedings have been slow and cannot catch up with fraud, deception and swindles of business operators.

“The CAWOW case is still under investigation and its customers have no idea what will happen or when. We demand related agencies expedite the case,” Ms Yaowapa said.

CAWOW customer Sumalee Rojanavanich said the CAWOW situation can be a case study for related agencies to improve consumer protection measures in the health club sector, such as having a trial period before signing a contract and inspecting and keeping track of the contract.

Niramai Sitthananand, another CAWOW member, said the tardy legal proceedings could frustrate many people, who might eventually give up on the case.

“The state agencies should help the affected people quickly, to reduce their losses and prevent business operators from exploiting others,” Ms Niramai said.

Saree Ongsomwang, secretary of the Foundation for Consumers, said CAWOW had revoked its petition to renovate its operation and returned to its bankruptcy petition.

“The Consumer Protection Police Division and the DSI must speed up their investigation, because this involves the transfer of CAWOW assets and the affected customers might not get the protection they should, even if they win the case,” Ms Saree said.

She also called on the government to quickly enforce Section 61 of the constitution, which requires the establishment of an independent consumer protection agency.

CAWOW was launched by Eric Levine in 2004 and was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) in 2005.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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