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Teenage snatch-and-ride robbers held

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Teenage snatch-and-ride robbers held | Thaiger

PHUKET: Police have arrested six teenagers, including a 14-year-old German-Thai girl, for bag-snatching and stealing motorcycles. They also arrested a 20-year-old man. The arrests follow a two-week police investigation, leading to the arrests last Friday of the 20-year-old, Somchai “Mike”Saewong, and his 16-year-old girlfriend who was three months pregnant (the couple already have two children). On Sunday, two teenage boys were arrested. Yesterday afternoon the 14-year-old girl and her boyfriend, 16, were arrested. Finally, at about 2 am today, another boy, 15, was arrested after he and two other boys stole a motorbike near Saphan Hin. The theft was witnessed by local people who gave chase. The 15-year-old crashed the motorbike and was grabbed by his pursuers, but the other two escaped and have so far eluded capture. The youngsters were all friends, but lived in different parts of Phuket Town and usually worked in pairs rather than as a gang, said Col Paween Pongsirin, Superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station. At a press conference today, one of the boys told journalists, “Most of the people we did were women walking alone at night, or who had some stuff in the basket of their motorbike.” Col Paween said that Somchai and the German-Thai girl’s boyfriend explained that when they were preparing to commit a robbery, the girls would usually drive the bikes, while they would snatch items from the baskets of other people’s bikes, or from pedestrians. After the robbery, the boy would swap positions with the girl – without stopping the bike – in order to fox police who would have received reports of a girl driving the bike used in the robbery. The boys were also faster riders, he added. “This group were very expert at riding motorbikes,” Pol Col Paween said, adding that many of the teenage motorbike criminals in Phuket were not scared of the police. “Many times, when the police try to arrest them, they ride straight at the officers.” Col Paween said that the teenagers presented to the press had confessed to a total of around 20 snatch-and-ride robberies, relieving their victims of such items as purses, mobile phones and jewelry. “They would spend all the money and sell the mobile phones to their friends for only 400-500 baht each. Any documents they found among the stolen belongings would be thrown in the bin,” he said. The six minors were sent to the Juvenile Observation and Protection Center to await court appearances. Somchai is being held at the Phuket Town Police Station. Col Paween added that all seven had troubled family backgrounds, had dropped out of school and had run away from home.


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