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Wednesday September 18, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday September 18, 2013 MYT 7:33:32 AM
by allison lai
MALACCA: A new breed of pickpockets who are mostly foreigners, are on the prowl in the usually crowded stage buses in the city.
The men, mostly in their 20s, often made use of the convenient platform of a crowded and moving bus to steal from passengers.
Often acting in a group, some of the men generally occupy a seat and left the seat next to them empty in order to be offered to potential victims.
Some would remain standing and do things to distract the attention of the target, so that their accomplice could steal the valuables.
A victim, who only wanted be known as Madam Ong, said she lost her wallet containing some cash after alighting from a bus on Thursday afternoon.
The 52-year-old who works as a janitor said the bus that she took from Melaka Raya to town was packed to the brim and she had to stand up after getting up.
“I remember that a young foreigner looking man waved to me from behind the bus and pointed at the seat next to him, offering me.
But I refused as it would be difficult for me to walk far to the door when I need to alight later. So I waved back to him and remain standing near the door,” she said when met here.
Ong said that there were several foreign-looking men who were also standing near her who started pushing and seem harried by the journey.
“There was a time even my shoulder bag and umbrella fell off from the pushing and motion.
The journey was short but it was very unpleasant,” she said, adding that she did not notice losing anything until after she had alighted from the bus.
Ong noted that another female passenger who alighted with her reminded her to check her valuables, saying there had been many pickpocket cases lately.
“It was then I found out the purse in my right pocket was gone,” she said, adding that her mobile phone in another pocket was still there.
A Panorama Melaka bus driver who only wanted to be identified as Rahman said it was not the first time he heard about pickpocket cases on the city stage buses.
He said the group would either irritate or divert the attentions of passengers only to rob off their purses and mobile phones.
There have been increases in the number of pickpocket cases on buses as the moving bus compartments and crowded space create a convenient platform for thieves to steal from passengers.
The group mostly acts in an organised way with several accomplices. Some serve as watchman while others do things to distract the victims.
“When they manage to steal the victims valuables, they pass it on to another partner nearby. This makes it hard to trace,” he said, adding that he came across a case where a woman lost her RM6,000 cash to pickpockets on the bus before.
Rahman also noted that the group might have used black magic during their act, as victims only suddenly found out about their losses after alighting the bus.
Ong said before she alighted, she saw another man squatting down suddenly on the crowded bus and started harassing other passengers feet.
“There was a small crystal-like ball in his hand,” she said, adding that she hoped that the stage bus frequency would be made more to avoid overly-crowded bus.
The police, she added, should do more spot checks on the buses too.
Tags / Keywords:
Southern & Eastern Region, Courts & Crime, pickpockets
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