Complacency, Part II: Anytime, Anywhere, Everyone

The marketing slogan for the Prime Minister’s mobile phone operator doesn’t just apply to the company’s touted network coverage, but also underscores that vulnerablity that all Bangkok citizen’s face with regards to petty theft. In this case, we’re talking about the PM’s wife, whose purse was snatched at a cafe in one of Bangkok’s more upscale and popular shopping centers.

Unfortunately, since most of us don’t have our own entourage of armed bodyguards (who apparently were either not present, or grossly incompetent) or our own police force to unleash a city-wide search for a stolen purse, the best we can do is just be a little bit more cautious (and not leave our stuff lying around when we go pee), good advice under any circumstance.

From the Bangkok Post:

Hunt for bag snatcher
December 27, 2004

Police have launched a city-wide hunt for a woman who stole a handbag belonging to Khunying Potjaman Shinawatra, the prime minister’s wife, in a coffee shop at the upscale Emporium department store on Saturday.

Police said the suspect, a Filipina, was seated at the next table and took Khunying Potjaman’s handbag while the prime minister’s wife was in the toilet.

Khunying Potjaman was meeting friends at the shop. The bag contained credit cards, personal cheques and jewelry.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said his wife was not in the habit of carrying a large amount of cash.

Witnesses said the woman carried a brown, oversized Louis Vuitton carry-on bag into which she put the stolen bag.

Police said the thief was aged 20-25, of medium build and about 165 cm tall. She spoke Asian-accented English and wore a body-hugging short-sleeved T-shirt and jeans.

Metropolitan Police Division 5 commander Kosin Hinthao was asked to handle the investigation after the Metropolitan Police Bureau met for an hour yesterday to discuss the case.

Pol Lt-Gen Pansiri Prapawat, the metropolitan police commissioner, said the thief was probably part of an experienced foreign gang. A sketch of the suspect was distributed to the immigration police bureau, the tourist police division, and the crime suppression division.

Police were also checking video footage of the suspect captured by close-circuit cameras at the shopping centre and the adjacent skytrain station. The department store has nine exits.

Pol Col Pisit Proayrungroj, an inspector, said a city-wide hunt for the suspect had extended from the Emporium to Sogo department store to the Central World Plaza. But there was still no sign of her.

Police were checking to see if the suspect had discarded Khunying Potjaman’s bag.

Pol Lt-Gen Pansiri said the Christmas and New Year shopping had attracted thieves and his bureau had put extra police at shopping malls and tourist spots.

Mt. Thaksin said he was told by police the suspect had paid her bill but did not leave the table right away. She waited until Khunying Potjaman left her bad unattended before striking.

5 Comments so far

  1. Ben Harris (unregistered) on December 27th, 2004 @ 12:40 pm

    Honestly, if she is stupid enough to leave her bag unattended, she deserves everything she gets.

    As you said, what a pity we don’t have the police to run around Bangkok for us when something of ours gets stolen.

    I don’t understand why they are wasting valuable (?) resources looking for the thief. I’m sending a big “GET OVER IT!” to Thaksin’s wife.

    Maybe she’ll go into grief counselling over her lost handbag – at the tax-payers expense of course :)

  2. Paul (unregistered) on December 27th, 2004 @ 3:16 pm

    Maybe they should pull some of the cops who have nothing better to do than look for the PM’s wife’s purse and send them down south to help look for missing loved ones and assist in the relief efforts?

    Hey, I have an idea! We ought to make a hundred million paper cranes and dump them all over Phuket to let them know that WE CARE. They gotta clean up a lot of litter anyways…

  3. Ben Harris (unregistered) on December 27th, 2004 @ 3:57 pm

    With bright ideas like that, you’ll be a member of Thaksin’s cabinet in no time!

  4. scuba (unregistered) on December 27th, 2004 @ 5:17 pm

    How about we all throw paper cranes at the PM’s wife as a show of sympathy?

    I’m also hearing that the PM will end earthquakes within 3 years by directing state-owned banks to lend lots of money to every unstable tectonic plate…

  5. Cog (unregistered) on December 27th, 2004 @ 10:46 pm

    JACKPOT! And the award for the Unluckiest Purse Snatcher goes to…
    I’m folding a paper crane for the pinay.

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