How not to be a bag snatcher victim while on holiday in Thailand
Thailand is one of the world’s safest countries for tourists to travel to. In fact, I’ve lived in Bangkok for 15 years, and never had a problem with any Thai or experienced anything that was remotely dangerous or threatened my life. That being said, however, Thailand does occasionally have a problem with purse and bag snatchers.
One sad incident was in June, 2012 when an Australian tourist was killed by a bag snatcher who stabbed her in the heart when she would not relinquish her purse. The perpetrators were eventually caught by Thai police, but the damage had already been done.
This, of course, is a rare event in Thailand but it can happen. That is why any tourist who plans to visit Thailand should follow a few quick tips, so they too are not the victim of a bag snatcher.
Watch Who is Driving By – Most bag snatching in Thailand is done by thieves on motorbikes. One guy is usually driving, while another leans off the bag, grabs the purse from the shoulder of a woman they’re passing and yanks it away from her. They are down the street and gone before she’s barely had time to notice her bag is missing.
This is why, when walking on any street in Bangkok, be aware of motorcycles passing you.
Motorbikes drive on the sidewalk in Thailand so, whether one is coming at you from the front or from behind, be aware of the motorbike sounds around you and keep a firm grip your purse. Of course, 99.9 percent of Thai motorcycle drivers are honest. It’s the tiny minority you need to watch out for.
Carry Your Bag on the Inside – If you’re walking down a Thai street, walk towards the inner part of the sidewalk, and always carry your bag on the side of your body closest to shops or walls. It’s impossible for a motorbike driver to snatch your purse if it’s on the side the motorbike cannot drive passed.
Use a Bag with a Long Strap – Rather than carry your bag hanging on one shoulder, buy a bag that has a long strap. That way you can put the strap over your head and drape it across your body. There’s not a single bag snatcher in Thailand that’s going to try to grab your bag if it means pulling you along with it at the back of the bike.
Carry Bags in Front of You – While motorbike bag snatching can happen, the other thing you should be careful of is having your purse slashed with a knife while shopping at a crowded street market
I’ve had this happen to me twice but, both times the person that slashed my bag with a knife didn’t get my wallet out of it as I felt the bag being moved and quickly pulled it back towards the front of my body. Always carry your bag in front of you at a crowded market and you’ll have no problems.
As for men, never, ever, ever put your wallet in your back pocket. I’ve lost count of the number of foreign tourists I’ve seen at Bangkok’s world-famous Chatuchak Market complaining to Thai police that their wallet was stolen from their back pocket. Use your front pocket or, better still, wear shorts with zipped pockets at mid-calf. They’re impossible to get into quickly, as the thief would have to stoop down to reach them.
For most tourists, having your bag snatched or slashed in Thailand is not anything you are likely to experience as it is a rare event. However, as it’s always better to be safe than sorry, follow these quick tips and you’re almost guaranteed to have no problems at all.
Enjoy your vacation in Thailand!