Monday, October 02, 2006

Beware of pickpocket

There has been a rather worrisome rise in pickpocket and snatch theft incidents this past year, not only in Klang Valley and JB, but also in the smaller cities and towns throughout the country. Not a day goes by without at least one report of such an incident in the newspapers. And what's more alarming is that these perpertrators are becoming ever more violent in the modus operandi. Victims, who are usually women, have been slashed by knives and even suffered broken bones when they are pushed to the ground and robbed by thieves on their motobikes.

I personally have been witness to one such incident a few months ago. A man on a Honda motorbike sped out the shadows just as a young lady exited from her office with her handbag slung over her shoulders. It all happened very quickly as the man caught the lady by surprise, grabbed the handbag and sped off towards me. I was alerted by the lady's cry and had the opportunity to look at the registration plate of the bike as he sped past me.

Sadly that was the only thing I could do, and ran to the poor victim, told her the registration number of the bike and advised her to lodge a police report.


Just a couple of days ago, a friend of mine almost lost a large sum of money to a pickpocket. We had just entered a busy restaurant at The Curve for lunch, and was waiting for the maitre'd to seat us. Suddenly, in came a group of men we assumed were also restaurant patrons. In hindsight, they didn't look like people who could have afforded dining there, with their rather shabby clothes and rather crass attitude, for they were pushing us around trying to make their way through the crowd even though there was already a queue.

Anyway, the maitre'd came up and asked the two of us to follow him to our table. I went forward but my friend behind me suddenly found himself surrounded by these men. One of them on his left dropped a handphone and promptly leaned down to pick it up, his arms and hands brushing against my friend's leg in the process. My friend found it rather suspicious and instictively reached out to his front right pant pocket where he kept his wallet. Lo and behold he caught the guy's accomplice just reaching in to make a grab for the wallet. My friend shouted "Hey!" , and he quickly retreated his hand and the men made a dash out of the restaurant. Thanks to his quick thinking and instinct, my friend's wallet was intact.

He later realised that the men must have been following him as he just gone to the money changer to change a rather large sum of money into USD for a trip next month.

Moral of the story is do not carry large sums of money around if you can help it and be constantly on guard whenever you go out. You never know when and where these lowlife scum are going to strike. It pays to be prepared.

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