Criminals looking for easy targets in the Golden Triangle

Police personel walking the beat at Jalan Bukit Bintang to ensure the public safety.

WHILE the majority of tourists would bring back only wonderful memories of their time in Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle, a handful vow never to return after falling victim to crime.

The Golden Triangle area comprises Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Pinang, Jalan Stonor, Jalan Conlay, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang.

A survey of several travel websites reveal several personal accounts of crime, including mugging, robbery, assault, intimidation and snatch theft.

This begs the question: Is enough being done to address the crime situation in these areas?

Personal accounts

On Oct 13, a man posted on a tourist website that he had been assaulted and robbed by two unknown assailants as he was walking back to his condominium near Changkat Bukit Bintang after having some drinks.

“I had just texted a friend when I heard someone running behind me, a second later I was hit on the back of my head.

“One guy grabbed hold of me while the other continuously punched me in the head and face, breaking my nose. They took my wallet and phone and ran off,” he said.

The victim admitted that he was slightly drunk and texting while walking, making him an easy target.

Another victim using the name Dave revealed that he was stabbed and mugged near a nightspot along Jalan Sultan Ismail on Oct 3.

He said he felt someone tug on his bag and when he turned round, was stabbed in the chest.

After seeking treatment at a hospital, he went to a police station to lodge a report.

He claimed to have seen a “conveyor belt of victims” there.

“A Korean couple who had just been robbed outside the police station 100m away; an American man who came in 10 minutes later having had his gold chain snatched,” he said.

Locals not spared

Sid from Abu Dhabi said on another website that he was walking on the pedestrian walkway just 300m from a busy mall in the area when he was almost robbed by five people of his bag at about 9pm in May.

“One of the thugs lunged at my camera bag and kicked me in the ribs. I managed to land a kick on him and yanked the bag out of his grip before running for my life.”

“All this happened right in front of a street full of cars and people and close to one of the city’s attractions,” he added.

Even Malaysians are not spared.

A 30-year-old freelance photographer and videographer who declined to be identified, said he was robbed of RM90,000 worth of camera and video equipment on Oct 12.

“I was assaulted and robbed by six men on motorcycles outside a hotel along Jalan Bukit Bintang at 6am. As I was busy setting up my equipment to capture the sunrise, the men assaulted me with numerous blunt objects.

“I screamed for help but passing motorists just ignored me and drove by. It is bad enough being attacked and robbed, but the apathy of passers-by was even more disappointing,” he said when contacted.

Hoteliers’ views

Grand Millenium Hotel Kuala Lumpur sales and marketing director Trudy Moreno said crime was a concern as both guests and employees had fallen victim to snatch thefts and extortion attempts.

“We don’t only get complaints from guests but also our 400 staff members,” she said.

She urged the police to increase presence in the vicinity.

“Police here are not as visible as in other major cities around the world,” she noted, adding their mere presence would deter crime.

Moreno is a victim herself. Her bag was snatched along Jalan Kia Peng last month.

Meanwhile, a couple of hotels in the Golden Triangle, said there had been no reduction in the number of bookings among foreigners.

“We have not seen any reduction in the number of guests.

“Crime is an issue in certain parts of Kuala Lumpur.

“The best we can do is advise guests on the do’s and don’ts especially when they go out alone,” said a spokesman of a five-star hotel in Bukit Bintang.

The spokesman said that several hotels engaged taxi services that are regulated, offering guests an additional level of security.

“We also advise them to be extra cautious with their bags as snatch theft is rampant.

“They are told to travel in groups whenever possible and to be extra cautious at night,” she added.

A spokesman for a hotel in Jalan Ampang said they work closely with the police whenever a guest fell victim to crime.

“It is always unfortunate when this happens to a tourist who is here to rest and relax,’’ he said.

The spokesman said that just like any big city in the world, tourists need to be street smart when in KL.

“Tourists themselves must take precautions to not become easy targets for opportunistic criminals,” he added.

Crime gone down

Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Ahmad said based on official statistics, the number of crimes had dropped compared to the same period last year.

“The situation is stable as we conduct 24-hour patrols using cars, motorcycles, as well as on foot.

“We also have static and mobile police kiosks in numerous locations. In addition, tourist police are placed in hotspots,” he said.

Police also have daily roadblocks and conduct spot checks in the evening with over 40 personnel from the Bukit Aman police headquarters involved.

As in other major cities globally, crime is a reality, said ACP Zainuddin.

He said tourists must always remain vigilant and take simple steps to protect themselves and their belongings.

“By being cautious, they can drastically reduce their chance of becoming a victim of crime.

“We are doing our best to ensure the safety of locals and foreigners but they should take precautions and not put themselves in dangerous situations in the first place.

“With the introduction of Ops Cantas and existing measures, security and safety within the city has improved,” he said.

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