Thai women handed their video of the pickpocket theft over to the Metropolitan Police in London. It clearly identifies the three thieves with clear footage. The victims cannot understand why the three women involved have not been arrested by UK police after they stole a purse containing £400 in holiday money. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police, last year, seemed to dismiss startling pickpocketing figures for London, based on police data, that showed 223 incidents per 1,000 people in London saying that when the figures for tourists were taken into consideration, the figure was far lower. It comes weeks after the Thai embassy in Sweden warned Thai tourists not to be too trusting when visiting the country which had seen a 2 month surge in crime perpetrated against Thai people visiting the Scandinavian kingdom.
Two Thai women, genuinely excited at being in the heart of London this month, were shocked and dismayed when they fell victim to a coordinated pickpocket attack as they crossed a street at Cambridge Circus. The duo were making a video for friends in Thailand and inadvertently, captured the robbery as it happened including footage of the three female thieves. The gang stole a purse with £400 from the Thai women and ruined the excursions that the two friends had planned for a long time. Despite the video, which they have handed into the Metropolitan Police in the city, it is reported that no arrests have been made. London is the pickpocketing capital of the United Kingdom with over 223 incidents per 1,000 people. The victims targeted are mostly tourists at key transports interactions and tourist spots. It is also reported that Asian women are particularly targeted by the gangs.
With more Thai women living abroad with foreign husbands in European and western countries and a rising middle class in Thailand, many Thai people are now holidaying abroad. Even Thai people with lower income jobs are now prioritizing foreign holidays as a key personal goal. Countries with iconic images such as Switzerland, France and of course the United Kingdom are the top favorites.
Horrible experience for two Thai women in London
This month, there was news of a horrible experience for two enthusiastic Thai women who set about exploring the heart of London. The UK’s capital city, over the last few years in particular, has become newsworthy for an uptick in crime including a significant rise in knife crime. There have been 30 recorded deaths from knife crime since the beginning of 2019. It is also a city where pickpocketing is quite a serious threat.
Pickpocketing is real issue in London
Although most people living in London will not have been pickpocketed, it is a significant issue in the city, especially for tourists. Figures for 2017 show nearly 200,000 incidents of pickpocketing theft in London. It is officially the pickpocketing capital of the United Kingdom with 223 pickpocketing incidents per 1,000 people followed by Lincolnshire with an incident rate of 63% that of the capital. The average rate across the UK is 45 incidents per 1,000 people or 20% of the rate in London. It represents a huge elevation of the risk. People are five times more likely to be pickpocketed in London compared to the rest of the United Kingdom. There has been a suggestion that the city is being targeted by highly trained and skilled gangs from Eastern Europe.
Pickpocketing gangs are reported to target tourists and in particular Asian females
However, the pickpocketing gangs are careful and selective in who they target. Many are tourists, the locations are usually key tourists areas and transport intersections. The thieves have a particular propensity for targeting Asian females. This was the verdict of an investigation for the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper at the end of last year.
Excited and enthusiastic at being in London, the Thai women decided to make a video
The Thai women in London on June 16th last were 51 year old Nina Spenser and her friend from Thailand, Toi McGurran. Both women are the same age. Nina lives in the UK with her British husband and Toi had been visiting her from London. So enthusiastic were they at being in the UK together that they wanted to capture their excursion in the heart of London at Cambridge Circus at the intersection between Charing Cross and Shaftesbury Avenue. They decided to make a video for their friends back in Thailand. Things did not go according to plan.
Precision and stealth used in a professional robbery as the women crossed the road
The two Thai women were the victims of precision pickpocket attack mounted by three other women which was executed as they walked across the road together in excited in anticipation of seeing the west end Palace Theatre currently showing the hit show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The innocence and enthusiasm of the Thai women stands in direct contrast to the cynical and deceitful nature of the three pickpockets as they executed their stealth crime.
Pickpockets were in place and moving before the Thai women began to cross the road
The incident began as the Thai women got ready to walk across the street. One woman was already standing behind them wearing makeup and sunglasses. As they walked, another long haired woman pulled up beside them and appeared to be reading her smartphone while a woman with mirrored glasses walks up behind. The woman with the makeup makes the move as the Thai women are walking and enjoying each other’s company. She shields the view from others with a bag as her partner picks up the purse.
Beaming and laughing Thai women, the perfect target for a pickpocket crime
The Thai women were laughing at beaming with the excitement of seeing the surroundings of London. The lead thief had covered for the long haired woman as she had deftly picked up the purse. She then almost immediately handed it to the woman with mirrored sunglasses. As the Thai women collected themselves on the other side of the road, the three thieves had already switched direction and moved off out of the vicinity without communicating with each other.
‘Oh My God, hey,’ the Thai woman exclaims as she suddenly realises her misfortune
On the other side of the road, by then, the two Thai women were looking up at the Palace Theatre and the advertising for the Harry Potter show. Toi McGurran spoke English for the video which she knew her friends back in Thailand would enjoy and called out the name of the show: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.’ At that point, the Thai woman realised her own misfortune and that her purse with £400 in cash had been snatched. ‘Oh My God, hey,’ she cried.
Clear video footage of the robbery and cleat pictures of the thieves, why no arrest?
The two Thai women had a clear video of the robbery. If it was Thailand, the culprits would have been arrested smartly and be facing a staff jail sentence. But this is London where petty crime is now rife and UK police seem to have no sense of urgency or accountability when it comes to smaller criminal matters.
Thai women brought their story to the The Sun, Britain’s leading tabloid newspaper
The Thai women contacted The Sun newspaper, Britain’s best selling tabloid, about their story. These days in the UK, ordinary residents appear to have as much chance of getting justice through the media as they have through force of law and order for everyday small crimes.
No one can quite explain what has gone wrong with policing in the United Kingdom
No one has a full explanation for what has happened with UK policing. The situation has deteriorated in the last five years. A report from The Guardian in November 2018 suggested that more people in London have now begun to employ private police services. One explanation is that new technology, instead of making police work easier and smarter, has taken up more officer man hours with desk work and consequently taken them off the streets. London’s Metropolitan Police have access to a huge CCTV system and probably has multiple videos of the incident from all angles. Despite this, the Thai women were told that no arrests have been made.
Thai women have handed their video over to the Metropolitan police in London
The two Thai women sent the Metropolitan Police their video but still received no news of any arrests and certainly no hope of getting their money back. ‘We don’t think it’s possible to get the money back now. But we just want to be helpful and let the police be aware of things going on in the city,’ Nina Spenser said this week.
Trip to London spoiled by cynical theft
The Thai women report that the incident ruined their time together in London. $400 might not be a lot of money from some of the high flyers living in London but for these Thai women, it is. The women have said that they are disappointed by their experience of London. ‘It’s sad that this had to spoil our trip. I hope the police can catch them so that it doesn’t happen to other people.’
UK police were once world beaters in tackling street crime including advanced tactics
UK police, in past decades, have deployed sophisticated techniques to apprehend the pickpockets such as special vehicles and undercover officers. It was policing tactics like this that used to underlie the high level of confidence international travelers had in relation to London including Thai visitors. However, in the last few years there has been a shocking change in UK policing. UK police are reported to be increasingly redirected to other priorities linked with terrorism and online threats. Some police force unions have also suggested that the issue is directly linked swinging UK government cuts to expenditure and police budgets in the city.
Dismissive attitude of Metropolitan Police spokesman in London towards the care of tourists
The Metropolitan Police in London, however, appears to adapt a dismissive attitude to tourists visiting London. A spokesman addressed the issue of pickpocketing commented to the Daily Mail newspaper at the end of last year. He was commenting on shocking figures which showed that in London for 2017, the last year for which published figures were available for a full year, there were 223 incidents of pickpocketing per 1,000 people in London. The figures were compiled from data released by police authorities. The spokesman for the Metropolitan police said this: ‘The figures need to be taken in context with the exceptionally high number of tourists who visit the capital. The tourist figures are not included but will drastically reduce the amount of thefts per person in London.’ Crime should not count so much when it is perpetrated against tourists. This appears to have been the message.
Thai embassy in Sweden issues warning to Thai tourists about crime in Sweden
The news report comes weeks after the Thai embassy in Sweden came out to warn Thai travelers to Sweden to be aware of the heightened threat from crime in that kingdom. Many Thai women are also married to Swedish men and there is now a long tradition of Thai emigration to Sweden including Thai wives and short term workers on Swedish farms.
Surge in theft and robberies perpetrated against Thai people in Sweden over a two month period
The Swedish embassy explained that the reason for the warning was that many Thai people, over a two month period prior to this, had been robbed of valuables including passports while visiting Sweden for both business and pleasure. The statement explained that hotels and their surroundings were the most dangerous areas. The Thai embassy also warned Thai people to be extra vigilant at transport locations and open public places such as busy streets.
Warning to Thai tourists not to be too trusting in Sweden as a surge in crime reported
The elaborate and detailed warning went on to warn Thai people visiting Sweden of confidence tricksters asking directions in the street including those asking the helpful and friendly Thai visitors to take photos while they rob and steal from them. They warned Thai visitors to Sweden not be as trusting as in Thailand of new found friends in Swedish cities such as Stockholm.
The Thai embassy also advised Thai people not to carry so much cash. It pointed out that in Sweden, being a fairly modern country, most businesses now prefer credit card payments.