Bag-snatchers back in action
PHUKET: Bag-snatchers on motorbikes are back in action in Phuket after a seven-month lull, with two cases reported yesterday, one in Phuket Town and the other in Thalang. In June last year there was a spate of bag-snatching cases, with robbers on motorbikes riding up alongside their targets and snatching handbags from the baskets of their victims’ bikes. With the arrests of a number of members of what police styled a bag-snatching gang, the thefts stopped. Now, however, police are again advising women on motorbikes not to leave their handbags in the pannier as the thieves are using the same technique. At 6pm yesterday, Pol Maj Adul Nirapai of Phuket Town Police Station received a complaint from Waralee Poolsawas, 24, that her handbag was snatched from the front basket of her motorbike. K. Waralee said that two Thai men rode up alongside her as she was stopping for the traffic lights at the junction in front of Wat Thepnimitr on Chao Fa Nai Rd. The passenger on the bike grabbed K. Waralee’s bag, which contained over 1,000 baht in cash and various important documents, and the robbers sped off. “She remembered that the motorcycle license plate had the number 54, but the thieves had stuck something over the province name on the plate, which makes it difficult for us to find them,” Maj Adul said. Half an hour after K. Waralee was robbed, 30-year-old Somporn Wisetsing was riding home along Thepkrasattri Road, headed for the Heroines’ Monument, when she was robbed in identical fashion by two men on a motorcycle. She too lost documents, along with several thousand baht in cash. K. Somporn tried to follow the robbers but could not keep up with them. She then reported the theft to Pol Capt Anan Jingjit at Thalang Police Station. The investigators from the two police stations are now working on the case together, as they believe that the robberies were probably committed by the same men. “Much of the information given to Thalang Police by K. Somporn is very similar to K. Waralee’s case, although the descriptions of their clothes differ slightly, and K. Somporn couldn’t remember anything about the license number,” Capt Anan said. Pol Col Chalit Thinthanee, superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station, told the Gazette that he believes the two men will be arrested soon. In the meantime, he said, women riding motorcycles should realize that they are the prime targets of the bag-snatchers. “Don’t put your handbag in the basket,” he advised.
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