Saturday, February 20, 2016

Gone are the days of a safe KL

By Tony Mariadass

Midnight snatch thieves

“What is becoming of the once safe Kuala Lumpur city? 
Gone are the days when one could go anywhere in the city at any time of the day feeling safe. 
We constantly hear of snatch thieves making with valuables from unassuming victims in day broad light and we have even had death.
A friend’s sister died because head injuries suffered in a snatch-thief incident at a housing estate in Klang. 
Just last week, a veteran sports official related to me how his wife had a chain snatched near Dataran Merdeka from a snatch thief on a motorcycle who came from the opposite direction she was walking with her son-in-law. Luckily his aged wife did not fall, but was shocked by the incident.
On Monday night, I was at Hard Rock Café with a few friends to witness the Lion Dance performance which is held every year. While in conversation, Ronnie Krishnan, a veteran crime journalist, related how former national hockey captain Mirawan Nawawi had his hand phone snatched from his ears as he had stepped out of Hard Rock Café to pick up a call.
But little did I realise that hours later I was going to witness a snatch thief right in front of my eyes.
After leaving Hard Rock Café, my friends decided that we go to another outlet near KLCC. As I did not drive that night, I hitched a ride with one of my friends as he drove the car I was seated in the passenger seat.
The drive from Hard Rock Café to the outlet took less than five minutes, but I witnessed left me dumbfounded.
As we were negotiating the bend close to Mandarin Oriental Hotel, I noticed an elderly Caucasian gentleman trying to cross the road lugging with him a travelling bag, carry a plastic bag and a sling bag over his shoulders.
I told my friend to slow down to allow the gentleman to cross and just that a motorcyclist from the right side of the car shot out as I screamed to my friend to avoid hitting him.
As my friend jammed his brakes, the next thing I knew the solo motorcyclist wearing shorts and a full helmet shot towards the gentleman and in one movement snatched the sling bag as the gentleman lost his balance and fell to the ground with his luggage and shopping bag strewn across the road.
We completely caught by surprise by the incident as in disbelief saw it happen right in front of me.
We wanted to stop to help the gentleman as the motorcyclist fled in lightning speed, but cars behind us forced us to move on as I saw from the side mirror, some people assisting the shocked gentleman.
I am sad that I could stop to assist the gentleman.
The incident happened just past midnight and at a place which is flooded with tourists.
What kind of impression would have the incident given to tourists who witnessed the unfortunate event. Would the victim ever come back to Malaysia and what would he have to say about Malaysia to his relatives and friends back home? Above all what kind of suffering this gentleman would have endured? Probably lost his travel documents, passport, personal identifications and money.
It can happen to anyone of us and I personally will have a phobia walking the streets in the city be it daylight or after dark.
This incident will definitely be etched on my mind for a long time to come.”

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