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Snatch gang in sticky situation



Snatch gang in sticky situation | Thaiger

CHALONG: Over the years there have been several demonstrations in Patong by bar owners opposed to early closing times. Among the arguments most commonly proffered by the bar owners as to why they should be allowed to remain open later is that Patong is a lure to free-spending foreign tourists who want to revel late into the night. It is not a place where one finds the impressionable and delicate Thai youngsters the Thaksin government has tried so hard to protect wih its social engineering campaigns – so goes the argument. The recent arrest of three glue-sniffing, bag-snatching delinquents may weaken that argument, however. At around 2 pm on July 31, Chalong Police led by Inspector for Crime Suppression Pol Maj Peeranat Chat-Inkaew collared three youths at Kata Beach after they had snatched a bag belonging to Australian tourist Mick Sweetnam, 47, who was at the beach with his girlfriend. Maj Peeranat identified the three youths as “Arm”, 18; “Not”, 16; and “Joy”, 15 – not their real names as two of them are minors. He said the three had rented a pink Suzuki Step motorbike from one of the many motorcycle rental agencies in Patong. Then, with Joy as the driver, Not sitting behind him and Arm at the back, the terrible trio rode around till they spotted Mr Sweetnam. Arm got off the bike, grabbed Mr Sweetnam’s bag, and ran back to his two buddies, who were waiting for him with the engine still running in order to make a quick getaway. Police managed to collar the boys just 100 meters from the site of the theft, near the Club Med Resort. Recovered as evidence in the case was Mr Sweetnam’s bag, a pair of sunglasses and the rented motorbike. The boys confessed to the theft, telling police they were part of a youth gang with about 20 members, the head of which was a 20-year-old identified as “Ton”. The boys said they lived at a local temple by day, where they received free food and accommodation. As evening approached each day, they would huff glue then go begging or commit snatch-and-run crimes against foreign tourists, especially those enjoying a day at the beach. When sufficiently cashed up, they would return to Patong, where they would buy the favors of beer bar hostesses and party until the money ran out. Then they would return to the temple to get some rest until the next day, when they would wake up – and do the same thing all over again. The temple in question, which was named in the initial report, subsequently issued a statement denying any knowledge of or involvement with the three delinquents. The boys were fingerprinted and police are now investigating to see if they can be linked with any other of the spates of snatch-and-run crimes that periodically break out on the island. Source: Siang Tai


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